Goan Prawn Masala

Having been married to a Goan, seafood is one of the most treasured food choices for my family. At my in-laws, fish/seafood is an everyday delicacy. It is enjoyed with steamed rice literally two times a day. Prawns can be cooked in several different ways. It is easy to make and absolutely delicious. It can be prepared dry, semi-dry or with gravy. But any which ways it is done, it tastes heavenly if prepared in the right manner.

The only tedious part of making prawns is the cleaning up. When preparing prawns it is vital to peel and devein the prawns. A lot of people I have seen in India do not follow the process. However, I would love to shed some light on this one!

Last week, when my friend was around, I thought I would make some prawns for her as she loves them. However when I took the prawns out from the fridge, she promptly asked me, “Aren’t you going to devein them?”, with a clueless expression on her face. Perhaps she got apprehensive I might not go through the tedious process before cooking.

With a smile on my face, I walked about the kitchen towards the sink and assured her that the sand veins will be removed before consumption.:) I particularly knew why she was worried as it is not quite a regular process people would follow in India. There is nothing wrong with eating it, but some people prefer not to. Deveining makes the prawns look much cleaner and far more presentable.

This recipe of prawns masala is a Goan version that I adapted from my mother-in-law. She sometimes calls it Prawn Chilli Fry,:) as is popularly known in the coastal regions. It is awesome when eaten with white rice or as a side-dish with Dal and rice.


Prawns  -peeled and deveined

Onion – 1 large or 2 medium sized

Garlic  – 3-5 cloves (peeled)

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp

Dried Red Chilli paste – 1/2 tbsp (optional)

Garam masala powder – 1 tbsp

Curry leaves – 8-10

Green chillies – 2-3 or as per taste

Tamarind paste – 1 tsp (can be replaced with chopped tomatoes)

Salt – as per taste


Grind the onions and garlic into a thick paste using a blender. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt into this paste and mix. Marinate the prawns with this paste and set aside for 10-15 mins.

Heat oil in a pan. Add curry leaves and green chillies. Then add in the prawns marinated with onion, garlic, turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Add 1 tsp tamarind paste (very little) or you can substitute with chopped tomatoes for the sourness. Add the dried red chilli paste.

The prawns will release water. Let this cook without adding any water. Add some garam masala powder. Cook until the prawns are cooked through and the consistency of the gravy is semi-dry.

Enjoy with steaming hot white rice.










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