Prawn Madras

May 10, 2013 (Last Updated: January 11, 2019)
Prawn Madras recipe

Use freshly ground hot masala, fresh curry leaves and a block of tamarind. 

Prawn Madras


  • 1/2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 600g small prawns, cleaned (or 16 tiger prawns)
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely sliced
  • 2 medium bay leaves
  • 5ml (1 tsp) dried curry leaves (if you have fresh ones, jackpot!)
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) black mustard seeds
  • 10ml (2 heaped tsp) hot masala
  • powder (adjust to taste)
  • 5ml (1 tsp) garam masala
  • 1½ x 410g tins peeled tomatoes, blended until smooth
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) tamarind, from a block soaked in 90ml hot water, seeds removed and strained or 30ml (2 tbsp) tamarind paste
  • 100ml water
  • 5ml (1 tsp) palm or brown sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • fresh coriander, to serve
  • basmati rice, to serve



Spread the ginger and garlic paste over the prawns.


Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat and fry the onion until it just starts to colour. Add bay leaves, curry leaves and mustard seeds, and watch as they sizzle and pop for a minute or 2.


Add masala and garam masala, stirring for just a few seconds.


Add tomatoes and stir – you don’t want the masala to cook by itself for too long or it will burn.


Add the strained tamarind paste and cook on low-medium heat until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.


Add water and cook for a further 10 minutes, without a lid. You want the sauce to thicken. Add the sugar and salt. Add prawns and cook on low-medium heat until the prawns turn opaque, about 2 – 3 minutes depending on size.


Squeeze lime juice over the prawns, sprinkle with coriander and serve with basmati rice.

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