Shell on Prawn Curry

January 27, 2023

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

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.


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

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