Spicy Prawns Masala





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Easy to make Indian spicy prawns masala is made with red hot whole chillies and freshly grounded spices. Tangy, hot and spicy this one really tickles your sense of flavour.

I am really proud of this easy prawn recipe made completely using my gut and flavour instinct.

Prawns or fish are proteins that cook fast, is healthy and one of best proteins to eat if on a diet.

Made with whole spices blended at home, you do need a decent blender to make this Indian prawns dish.

Ingredients Needed To Make Masala Prawns

This is a hot and spicy prawn dish which means there are few spices you will need.

Non of the spices are difficult to find and if you struggle I recommend buying them online from this fabulous one stop shop for all your spices need.

Here is what you need:

Fresh or Pantry Ingredients 

500 gms, prawns
1, onion diced into small pieces
 3 tbsp, yogurt
1, chopped tomato
15 curry leaves

6 pods garlic
3 tbsp sunflower oil

Spices Needed

3 to 4 whole red chillies (Fresh or dry)
1 tsp pepper corns
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds

Substitute or Optional Ingredients 

You can substitute prawns with shrimps and make an spicy shrimp dish

Substitute fresh curry leaves with dry curry leaves

Substitute fenugreek seeds with celery seeds (read here to know what is fenugreek seeds and the best substitutes)

You can use yellow or black mustard seeds for this recipe

Prawns Masala Recipe Step By Step Instructions With Images

Follow this really simple step to step cooking process to make this dish at home.


Make the masala paste.

In a pan dry roast garlic pods, whole red chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and pepper corns until it changes in colour and is fragrant.

Grind into a thick paste with some water and set aside

Spices for spicy shrimp


Heat oil in another pan, saute onions tomato and curry leaves for 5 minutes.

Saute tomatoes and onions in a pan


Add the prawns and the ground spice blend made earlier and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Add shrimps to spices


Add water and cover and cook until the prawns look done. Serve with plain boiled rice.

Masala prawn recipe

Cooking Tips and Notes For This Recipe

1.Do not roast the whole spices for too long, turn it off as soon as you see the colour of the seeds change to a darker shade. 

2. You can use shrimp to make this spicy shrimp dish instead of prawns.

3. Prawns tend to become tough if cooked for long. Read this Mediterranean Prawn recipe where I share tips to make perfectly cooked prawns. 

4. Cook the tomatoes till it becomes pulpy, it gives the dish a lovely tangy taste.

5. Adjust the chillies according to your spice threshold. This is a hot spicy Indian prawn recipe so you do need a fair about of spices but you can easily reduce the amount. 

Can You Make Spicy Prawns Masala With Frozen Prawns

Yes, you can make this prawn dish with frozen prawns.

All you need to do is thaw the prawns and pat them dry before cooking.

What Does Masala Mean?

Masala is the Indian (Hindi) word for spices.

Whenever you see the word ‘Masala’ on a menu or a recipe you know if refers to spices.

Masala, as a reference to a cooking term as well. This means the process when you saute any Indian base sauce with spices along with onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes.

This post shares the little known secret process of cooking a basic Indian sauce base that can be used for making many Indian recipes.

Recipe Card For Spicy Prawn Masala

Indian prawn masala recipe pinterest image


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Prawns - 500 gms
Onions - 1, diced into small pieces
Yogurt - 3 tbsp
Tomato - 1, chopped
Curry leaves - 15
Sunflower oil - 4 tbsp
For the spice paste
Garlic - 5 pods
Whole red chillies (Fresh or dry) - 3 to 4
Pepper corn- 1 tsp
Coriander seeds- 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
*Ingredients Needed


In a hot pan add all the whole spices listed under the spice paste category. This includes garlic.
Stir and dry roast the spices for about 1 minute until all the spice change in colour and emits a string robust smell.
Remove from fire and grind it into a semi coarse powder.
Keep aside for later use.
Make the base
Heat oil in a pan.
Add onions and sauté till it turns translucent.
Next add chopped tomatoes and continue to sauté till it becomes soft and pulpy.
Now add prawns to the onion tomato and mix it well. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
It’s time to add the spice paste to the prawns and coat it well with the spices and continue to sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
Add yogurt and curry leaves, mix well cover and cook until most of the moisture evaporates and the prawns are well cooked.
Serve hot with plain boiled rice or paratha.