Without further adieu – I give you Prawn Masala

Posted on February 28, 2012


I can never remember a Sunday or a Friday (then being a public holiday back in the 80s in Pakistan) when my mum would prepare a feast for the family to share together . Quite often it would be seafood sourced from the best possible machli-waala ( fisherman ) to frequent our locality in my home city , Karachi . Back then , seafood was quite expensive and therefore a once a week fare for our family . The faint scent of pomphret marinated in an array of spices being shallow fried wafting down the corridor of our apartment still tickles the recesses of my childhood memories. Over the years , another seafood dish – ‘prawn masala’ has become a favorite on my palate , which initially made its way to our family dinner table when we were having special guests over and my mum’s rendition of it was lip smackingly delicious !
So without further adieu , I give you my take on this beautiful dish , Prawn Masala

Serves 3-4 with hot tandoori naan and/or steamed rice . Please allow time for marination .

You will need :

  • 500 gms banana prawns shelled and deveined
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp hot chilli paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3-4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes cut to medium cubes
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder (zeera)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder( dhania)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 green chilli julienned
  • 8-10 stems of coriander leaves finely chopped including stalks

Preparation :

  • Prepare a marinade of salt , hot chilli , ginger and garlic pastes and toss the prawns in the mixture to coat evenly.
  • Leave this mixture to marinate for at least 2 hours .
  • Heat oil in a medium sized wok or deep frying pan , add curry leaves , mustard seeds and cumin seeds until they sizzle and release a fragrance .
  • Add onions and fry well until they turn a rich golden color – please be careful with the onions as they shouldn’t darken in color.
  • Add marinated prawns , powdered cumin , coriander and turmeric and fry well until the prawns turn opaque – this should not take more than 3-4 minutes.If the mixture seems too dry , 1/4 cup of boiling water can be added in this step.
  • Add salt per taste ( please note that we have already added salt in the marinade , I usually find I don’t need to add any more salt in this step ).
  • Add cubed tomatoes , mix in well with the gravy and cover to cook for about 2-3 minutes until the prawns.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Garnish well with julienned green chillies and chopped coriander.
  • Serve on a bed of steamed basmati rice and/or tandoori naan bread and lemon wedges.

So there we have it , Prawn Masala in all it’s glory …

Enjoy and please feel free to post feedback/queries

Tips : In the initial marination process , I prefer to use freshly crushed ginger and garlic as the freshness and flavor is well infused in the prawns .

Please note , the picture features Prawn Masala served with Yakhni Peas Pulaao ( Pilaf slow cooked in chicken broth) which is also a great variation to the usual steamed rice – recipe coming soon …


Posted in: Food, Pakistani, Seafood