Kerala Red Prawns Curry with Kokum

Radzie's picture

Jun. 15, 2013

This is one of those dishes that make me drool just by the thought or sight of it definitely an irresistible one for any seafood lovers! Kokum, or Kodampuli as we call in Kerala, is a typical ingredient in most of the seafood preparations here. It adds a different taste to the dish that goes well with spicy gravy preparations. Traditionally curries were prepared in earthen pots (in home my mother still uses earthen pots), mainly to let the gravy reduce proportionally, giving the curry a nice flavor and consistency. It is easy to pack and carry Kodampuli back from home but not earthen pots so I had to manage cooking in a normal deep heavy bottomed pan, so that means a little extra cooking time to let the gravy reduce by evaporating. A wee bit of extra effort for the love of prawns and all that is seafood! Feel free to give it a try.


For marinade
Prawns 400 Gram , cleaned, deveined (about 30 prawns)
Turmeric powder 1/4 Teaspoon
Pepper powder 1 Teaspoon
Salt To Taste
For curry
Olive oil 2 Tablespoon
Mustard seeds 1/2 Teaspoon
Dried chilies 2 Medium , roughly torn
Onion 1 Medium , roughltychopped
Garlic 8 Clove (40 gm) , roughly chopped
Ginger 1 Inch , roughly chopped
Green chilli 2 Small , roughly cut
Turmeric powder 1/2 Teaspoon
Chilli powder/Kashmiri chili powder 2 Tablespoon
Freshly ground black pepper 1/2 Teaspoon
Coriander powder 1 Tablespoon
Garam masala 1 Teaspoon
Tomato 1 Large , finely chopped (if not using kokum double this with ripe ones)
Kokum 3 Medium , soaked in enough water
Thick coconut milk 1/4 Cup (4 tbs) (optional, not used in the curry) (Optional)
Curry leaf 1 Tablespoon



1. Marinate the prawns using the ingredients for marination. Keep aside for at least 30 minutes.

2. Make a coarse paste of onion, garlic, ginger, green chili with a little or no water; keep aside.


3. Heat up oil in a deep heavy bottomed pan (or earthen pot) and splutter mustard seeds, followed by dry chilies.

4. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, green chili paste and saute until oil separates.

5. To this add the turmeric, chili, pepper, coriander and garam masala powders. Mix well and cook until the spices give out a nice aroma.

6. Add tomatoes and cover and cook for a few minutes, until you get a mushy mix.

7. Add kokum with water and let it boil.

8. Add the marinated prawns and adjust salt. At this stage, if the curry lacks gravy, add 1/2 cup of water. Let it cook for 8-10 minutes. Care must be taken not to overcook prawns as it may turn rubbery. Adjust seasoning and add curry leaves; switch off when done and when gravy thickens a bit.

9. If adding coconut milk then follow this step. Once prawns is cooked and gravy thickens, add 1/4 cup of thick coconut milk. Remember to reduce the heat as you should not let it boil. Once heated through, switch off. Check final seasoning and salt at this stage.


10. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with plain steamed rice, appam, idiyappam etc.

Recipe Summary

Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 20 Minutes
Servings: 5

Nutrition Facts

Serving size

Calories 241Calories from Fat 92

 % Daily Value*

Total Fat 11 g16.9%

Saturated Fat 3 g15%

Trans Fat 0 g


Sodium 423 mg17.63%

Total Carbohydrates 26 g8.7%

Dietary Fiber 5 g20%

Sugars 9 g

Protein 15 g30%

Vitamin A % Vitamin C %

Calcium % Iron %

*Based on a 2000 Calorie diet