Prawn Pepper Fry

In the East Coast of India, deep sea fishing is banned in April and May to allow the fish to breed. The fishermen also use this time to repair and service their boats and mend their nets. They go to sea on the first of June and are very happy to return with their nets full. I bought fresh prawns from a stall run by the Fishermen’s Welfare Association, and prepared this pepper fry.


Prawn Pepper Fry - Kalas Kalai

Prawn Pepper Fry

This is an over-the-gate recipe given to me by my friend and neighbour Jayashree Raveendran. I had neither seen nor tasted the dish before. This is my interpretation of the recipe. I have taken liberties to make the flavour milder to suit my family’s palette. This dish goes very well with a South Indian meal or along with a festive feast.

Nutritive Value

The prawns supply an impressive 19 g of protein per 100 g. They contain very little fat and therefore the energy supplied is low. The energy value will increase only if you add more oil than given in the recipe to fry the prawns.


  • 500 g shelled and deveined Prawns
  • 2 C Sambar Onions/Shallots, sliced
  • 1 T Ginger Paste
  • 1 T Garlic Paste
  • 2-3 Green Chillies, deseeded and diced
  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 2 tsp Pepper Powder
  • 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
  • 3 T Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Salt, or to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet or wok.
  2. When hot, add the sliced onion and fry.
  3. When the onions become translucent, add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry till a nice aroma arises.
  4. Add the green chillies, tomatoes, and salt. Fry till the oil separates from the tomatoes.
  5. Add the turmeric, chilli, and coriander powders, and half the pepper powder. Mix well.
  6. Add the prawns and stir till each prawn is coated with the masala. The prawn will give off water. Cover the pan and bring to boil.
  7. Lower the heat and cook till all the water is absorbed.
  8. Add the rest of the pepper powder and curry leaves, and stir once.
  9. Remove from heat and serve.


  1. If less spice is desired, add the green chillies whole and cook. Discard the chillies as soon as the prawns are cooked.
  2. Occasionally, the prawns will not give off sufficient water. Therefore, you may need to add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the masala to cook the prawns.



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