Shell on Prawn Curry

Keeping the shells on your prawns, especially the heads, gives maximum flavour to any curry. This authentic Goan recipe is by Maunika Gowardhan and I loved making it – easy, mouthwateringly good to look at and, most of all, utterly delicious.

Shell on prawn curry

Recipe by Maunika GowardhanCuisine: GoanDifficulty: Easy


Total time



Sainsbury sell fabulously large, sweet and meaty shell on prawns (£8.50 in the freezer cabinet). I used some in this vibrant green coconut prawn curry with chilli, coriander and curry leaves. 262 calories per person (without rice or other accompaniments).


  • 12 large whole shell-on raw prawns

  • ½ tsp ground turmeric

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 green bird’s-eye chilli, slit lengthwise

  • 10-12 curry leaves, (see notes below)

  • 400ml coconut milk

  • a pinch caster sugar

  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste

  • chopped to make 1 tbsp coriander leaves


  • ½ onion, roughly chopped

  • a large bunch coriander, leaves and stems chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • a thumb-sized piece ginger, roughly chopped

  • 1 green bird’s-eye chilli


  • Put the prawns, turmeric and a pinch of salt into a bowl and toss well.
  • Put the paste ingredients and 70ml of water into a blender or food processor and whizz to a smooth paste.
  • Heat the oil in a large, lidded, heavy-bottomed pan over a low heat. Add the green chilli and curry leaves, and, as they begin to sizzle, add the paste and fry for 3 minutes. Add the prawns, stir well and fry for 1 minute. Add 100ml of water, season and cook with a lid on for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, sugar and tamarind paste. Stir well and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until the curry has thickened slightly and the prawns are cooked through. Scatter over the coriander and serve with rice, if you like.

Cook’s Tip

  • I cheated and used a jar of ready made curry paste. It still tasted fantastic! Grace

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