Around india Through 20 Of Its Most Delicious Prawn Dishes. Curries, Fried Snacks & More!

Around india Through 20 Of Its Most Delicious Prawn Dishes. Curries, Fried Snacks & More!
Unlike tasteless chicken or its more simple, fishy counterparts, prawns reign at the top of our under-the-sea list thanks to their delicious, unparalleled crustacean flavours. Steam it, fry it, lather it in rich, coco-nutty gravies, serve it with their heads on, or shell them completely. Do with it what you will but you’ll still find that it’s hard as hell not to enjoy the little sea creatures in whatever form they come. The fresher, the better as long as they aren’t still moving when they’re placed upon your plate, of course.
Luckily for us, our bountiful coastlines have ensured that India never falls short of prawns as a staple part of multiple cuisines and perhaps best of all, our varied cuisines have found ways to make the versatile protein unbearably delicious in entirely different ways. We picked 20 of the best dishes that really stood out for both-their scrumptiousness as well as what we thought might be considered unique by many. And instead of stopping at simply hinting about places and restaurants you could sample these dishes at across the country, we went a step further to include some of the best recipes for all the home chefs out there. Hopefully, we inspire the next Masterchef India who has no option but to feed us post their crowning. We’ve already taken care of mutton and pork around the country for you, so take five minutes out of your day and get to know prawns in India better.
We really, really doubt you’ll regret it.
[Note to readers—-in case we missed out on a majorly important prawn dish, let us know in the comments section below, we’ll be more than happy to add it in if it fits the bill.]

1. Malvani Prawns Curry

Cuisine: Malvani (That’s what you get when you overlap Maharashtrian cuisine with Goan cuisine, basically.)

If you have been on the prowl for the perfect, spicy prawn curry for a while, you’ve probably already stumbled across this one. It’s just a little too good to leave off this list either way.  The Malvanis have long since mastered the art of blending seafood with spices, which is exactly why their piquant, coconut-based gravy with succulent prawns swimming in it, will leave your mouth watering for more.

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Great place to get it: Our best bet is Chaitanya in Dadar.

Unless, of course, you decide to take matters into your own hands. Do call us over when when you nail this recipe!

2. Kerala Fried Prawns

Cuisine: No prizes for guessing

If you aren’t a big fan of gravy, this is the perfect dish for you. A trademark meal of the state, Kerala-styled fried prawns (also known locally as ‘chemeen varuthathu’) is cooked in coconut oil, along with some mustard seeds, curry leaves, turmeric and fiery chillies. These golden-brown prawns will actually make really great mid-night munchies too. If the aroma of the dish doesn’t knock you off your feet, the taste definitely will.

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Great place to get it: You must have at least one Malayali friend who can get you some of the real deal but otherwise, Hotel Deluxe in Fort has just the stuff you need.

Making it at home? Of course, home-cooked food is always the best. Give it a try.

3. Prawn Balchao

Cuisine: Goan

It’s hardly a matter of surprise that Goa has yet another amazing seafood dish to offer us. Introduced to this coastal land by the Portuguese, this tangy relish is cooked in a special 'masala paste,' which is prepared with a blend of spices, a dash of tamarind and some malt vinegar, which gives it the zesty flavour. A whole jar of fiery goodness ready to be eaten  with rice, rotis, or that Goan carb staple, poi. Pickles, step back.

Image courtesy - chefranjanfuncookingmenu.blogspot

Great place to get it: Just a train/bus/flight trip away at any shack in Goa. Or you could try ‘The Fisherman’s Wharf’ at Sarjapur Road, Bangalore @INR. 475

If you can’t fit a trip to Goa/ Bangalore into your agenda however, maybe you can try and make some at home.

4.Prawn Pollichathu

Cuisine: Kerala

Chemmeen Pollichathu is a traditional Kerala recipe in which prawns are cooked slowly in a tangy and spicy coconut sauce, all wrapped up in  a banana leaf. The zesty flavour comes from the use of tamarind or ‘kodum pulli’ or gambooge but the unique flavour of this dish comes from the aroma infused by banana leaves that are used to cover the the prawns masala. When you unravel it post cooking, the aroma that hits is transcending, to say the least.

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Great place to get it:  Lalit Refreshment’s Taste of Kerala will not disappoint you @INR. 500

Making it at home? Always a good idea. Here, let us help you out.

5.Koliwada Prawns

Cuisine: Maharashtrian

This deep-fried, crunchy prawn dish makes for the perfect starter with its fresh flavour and crispiness. They also make for the perfect munchies thanks to their coating, seasoned with cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic, carom seeds and lime juice, and crispy fried till it’s golden-brown. Grab a beer and munch away.

Image courtesy - homeonmyrange.blogspot

Great place to get it: Just a cab ride away to Kala Ghoda at Trishna for, well, beggars can’t be choosers @INR.625.

Or, you can save some money and make it twice at home!

6. Chettinad Prawn Curry

Cuisine: Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s Chettinad-styled cooking has a tendency to make just about any any protein melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The prawns are first marinated in chilli powder, turmeric powder and some lime and salt before cooking them in a combination of spices and coconut, making this one of the most fiery recipes on the list.

Image courtesy - sabithavantalu.wordpress

Great place to get it: How much do you think a flight ticket to Tamil Nadu costs?

Oh well, maybe you can give a hand at cooking it at home?

7. Konju Varutharacha Curry (Kerala Prawn Curry)

Cuisine: Kerala

We don’t have any soft corners for South-India--they just give some really mind-blowing seafood dishes. Konju Varutharacha curry is made by cooking the prawns in a roasted coconut gravy layered with some of our aromatic spices and green chillies, ginger and garlic giving the juicy prawns a fresh and authentic flavour.

Image Source: Best Indian Cooking

Great place to get it at: Okay, it's very hard for us to believe you don’t have a single Malayali friend. Figure it out, already.

Making it at home? This Kerala-based recipe will make you a great hit with your friends!

8. Goan Shrimp Curry

Cuisine: Goan/ Portuguese

Influenced from Portuguese cuisine, the Goan shrimp curry is one of the most delicious seafood delicacies there is.. Tossed in coconut milk, rice and chillies and other spices, the succulent prawns gain a flavour so intense that will leave you begging for more.

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Great place to get it : Goa Portuguesa’s got a pretty authentic version.

Feeling experimental at home? Go ahead. We’re rooting for you!

9. Prawn Pepper-Garlic Kuzhambu

Cuisine: Tamil Nadu

If you’re bored of all the normal curries, this Tamil Nadu-based Prawns Kuzhambu cooked in onion, tomato, coconut and a tangy, tamarind sauce, is everything you ever dreamed of. The simmering smell of ground-up masalas, shallots, jeera and pepper will have you drooling before you’ve even started.

Image Source: Ani Samayal Yoksha

Great place to get it at: If you find a legitimate place, do let us know.

Making it at home? Till you figure it out, you can try this.

10. Prawns/Shrimp Cooked In Sour greens (Gongura)

Cuisine: Andhra

Locally referred to as Gongura Royyala, this Andhra-based prawns curry is an exotic, winter dish, if ever there was one. The prawns are cooked in a thick, tangy Gongura sauce that can finally be served as dry or even with gravy. It tastes amazing with rice, chapati, or any Indian bread and it’s also one of the most notoriously unique options on this compilation.

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Making it at home? Do leave your home address below in the comments section.

11. Prawn Caldine Curry

Cuisine: Goan

This one is for all those who aren’t a huge fan of spicy food and are cursing us for compiling the most fiery prawn dishes of India, apparently something of a pre-requisite when cooking this particular protein. This Goan dish is made by cooking prawns down in thick, creamy coconut milk, tamarind juice, chillies, garlic, ginger and the aromatic peppercorn and cumin seeds. The result? Creamy, tender prawns whose flavours burst in your mouth.

Image courtesy - chefranjanfuncookingmenu.blogspot

Great place to get it: We hear ‘Highway Gomantak’ along the highway in Bandra (E) is the place to go.

Cooking at home is also a great idea. We hope this helps you.

12. King Prawns Korma

Cuisine: North Indian

King Prawns cooked in a light and creamy, yet rich gravy perfectly complemented with spices and nuts, this is the kind of North Indian recipe that might make you ditch all the others. But it probably won’t last long given just how heavy it is. Cream, yoghurt, coconut cream, egg blended together to make a rich mixture spiced with chilli powder and turmeric powder making this korma nothing like all the other proteins you’ve experienced it with before, largely due to the tenderness of the prawns.

Image Courtesy - realfood.tesco

Great place to get it: We’re still looking so till then, why don’t you try making it at home? Here you go.

13.Mangalorean Prawns Curry

Cuisine: Mangalorean, duh.

The dish’s golden recipe calls for prawns which are cooked in roasted coriander seeds, cumin, carom and fenugreek seeds, bedgi and madras chillies along with a generous sprinkling of  coconut and tamarind paste. Best accompanied with steamed rice, this dish is creamy without being heavy and spicy without burning a hole in your mouth. Balance is everything.

Image courtesy - cheriesstolenrecipes.blogspot

Great place to get it at: If your wallet’s heavier than usual, head over to the Konkan Cafe at Vivanta Taj, Cuffe Parade.

End of the month and broke? As long as you can still afford some fresh prawns, here’s the perfect recipe for you.

14.Kadai Jhinga

Cuisine: Punjabi

Cooked in a tomato-based masala, with typical Punjabi flavours, this dish is certainly not for the weak-hearted. It provides a perfect blend of spices and prawns in a tangy yet spicy gravy and the curry marries perfectly with fresh, steamed rice and isn’t half bad with other bread staples like roti, paratha or poori either. Basically, find an Indian carbohydrate and dunk it in the goddamn curry.

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Great place to get it: Punjab a little too far for you? We suggest Zaica Dine & Wine in Bangalore for some yummy Punjabi goodness. If not, try cooking it at home.

15. Chungdi Malai (Prawn Malai curry)

Cuisine: Bengali/Odisha

This coconut and malai based (we’ve come to the conclusion all perfect prawn recipes require a good amount of coconut) creamy seafood delight is exactly why our love for the Eastern brethren knows no bounds. Like most others on this list, it’s best served with a plate of hot, steaming rice. One of the most tender dishes too, it’s impossible not to dig in.

Image courtesy - cheriesstolenrecipes.blogspot

Great place to get it: Oh! Calcutta’s your absolute best bet.

Making it at home? Your home recipe is where our hearts and stomachs would like to be. Don’t forget to invite us over.

16. Khajing Fry

Cuisine: Manipuri

All the best seafood dishes don’t necessarily have to feature the freshest of ingredients or at least that’s what this spicy, mouthwatering Manipuri delicacy proves. Made from air-dried shrimp tossed in red onions, curry leaves, fish masala powder, chilly powder and salt, this recipe will make you want to shift to the state that’s far too neglected both culinarily and politically.

Image Courtesy - cuisines.throodalookingglass

Great place to get it: It’s high time you took a holiday. Head to Manipur and pack plenty of dried shrimp to take back home, it lasts a lifetime.

Making it at home? We hear this tastes especially amazing with a pint of chilled beer. Here’s the recipe to impress your guests at your next house party!

17. Sorshe Bhapa Chingri

Cuisine: Bengali

If you’re trying to avoid the oily, masala-driven flavours that the rest of these seem hell bent on matching up with, this Bengali dish is the answer to all your prayers. The only pre-requisite? You’d better like that Kashundi mustard all Bongs swear by. The ‘chingri’ is steamed in a mustard sauce made from mustard seeds, poppy seeds, green chillies, & salt until it’s cooked through and almost painfully tender. Steaming the crustacean not only retains all its nutrients also its natural and sweet flavours too. Yep, definitely time to pay Cal a visit.

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Great Place To Get It: Oh! Calcutta’s still your number one friend when it comes to Bengali cuisine.

Making it at home? Please leave your home address below in the comments section. We will surely drop by.

18.Jheenga masala

Cuisine: Bihar

One of the most easy recipes to master on this list, the Jheenga masala is made by first marinating the prawns in an onion-ginger-garlic paste, curd, turmeric, red chilli and black pepper mixture, which is then fried till it turns the most delicious shade of brown, caramelized deliciousness.

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Great place to get it: All Biharis reading this post, introduce yourselves to us in the comments section please? You’ve got to have the inside scoop.

Making it at home? As long as you’re not the type to screw up scrambled eggs, you should be good to try this too.

19. Eral varuval

Cuisine: Tamil Nadu

One of the most popular South Indian non-vegetarian dishes, Eral (Prawns) varuval is cooked hot with chilli powder, turmeric, pepper and coriander powder, giving the prawns just the right amount of zest. The dish calls for more of a country-style cooking with the flavours from the fennel and cumin seeds being given just enough time to pack the prawns with a punch, yet retaining all its textural masala goodness.

Image courtesy - youtube

Great place to get it: Try Malgudi at the Savera hotel in Chennai.

Making it at home? Try this recipe

20. Mangalorean Style dried Prawn chutney

Cuisine: If you can’t guess by now, you don’t deserve to be here.

We couldn’t quite let this list wrap itself up without mention of this incredible, ground up chutney that basically makes our worlds go round. Sure it doesn’t exactly count as a dish, and it probably means we could’ve included a pickle but if we can leave all the semantics out of it and just talk pure culinary excellence, it deserves to be here. Replete with dried prawns and roasted coconut, which is all ground up with turmeric powder, salt, red chillies and jeera, to create an unbelievable flavour combination in a single paste, it’s best eaten all mixed up with some hot rice.

Image courtesy - Youtube

Great place to get it: Get real. You have no option but to make this one at home.

Words: Krupa Joseph

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[Note to readers—in case we missed out on a majorly important prawn dish, let us know in the comments section below, we’ll be more than happy to add it in if it fits the bill.]

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