Super Light Creamy Indian Prawn Curry

In spite of what the above photograph might suggest, this creamy curry contains no coconut milk nor cream. The first yogurt-based curry I’ve ever tasted! The recipe is inspired by a fish curry cooked by a talented Indian grandmother, whom I have been following for some time in fascinating Myna Street Food videos. As you can see, I’ve used prawns instead, but it wasn’t a risky decision since the sauce is the real protagonist here. The result was as good as I had expected, flavours not as tangy as I had imagined, and – a total surprise – the simmered yogurt hasn’t curdled (I still don’t know why!). This super light aromatic curry is already among my favourite Indian dishes!

This video didn’t indicate any amounts (not to mention the huge fish which might feed at least a dozen people!), so I have adapted both the ingredients and the cooking process to my preferences (I might have even skipped or added something, but not much, hoping to keep the South-Indian flavours). It’s not the first time I take a culinary inspiration from a Youtube source which doesn’t precise amounts and I must say cooking this way is such fun and somehow less intimidating, as Indian cuisine is sometimes. Feel free to use fish here, to change the amounts as much as you like, adapting them to your palate and heat resistance, but most of all visit Myna Street Food to watch the original recipe.

TIPS: If you want to avoid serving separate vegetable side-dish, add for example one courgette cut into bite-sized pieces.

If you don’t have all the spices you may skip the fenugreek and nigella seeds, but make sure you use the fennel seeds, in my opinion particularly good with fish and seafood.

If you cannot find fresh or frozen curry leaves, skip them. The dish will be delicious anyway. The dried ones have much less aroma and, moreover, since one is supposed to eat them (unlike, for example, bay leaves), they won’t have a very pleasant texture once dried and you will have to take them out. You can find curry leaves in Indian or Sri Lankan grocery shops. If you see them rarely, buy a big batch and freeze the leaves in small portions, tightly wrapped in plastic film (but the best would be to vacuum pack them). You can also buy them online (I’ve even seen USA curry tree growers who sell fresh leaves).

Preparation: about 30 minutes+30-minute marinating time

Ingredients (serves two):

400 g (about 14 oz) raw prawns/shrimps (fresh or thawed), without heads

1 tablespoon oil (you can use coconut oil too)

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/3 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 medium onion or 2 big shallots, sliced

about 4 tablespoons fresh curry leaves

1 heaped teaspoon garam masala


200 ml (about 1 cup) Greek yogurt

juice from 1/2 lime

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 heaped teaspoons medium hot chilli powder (I’ve used Kashmiri chilli, which is quite mild)

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

2 garlic cloves, crushed or grated

1 heaped teaspoon grated fresh ginger

First prepare the marinade combining all the ingredients in a container where you’ll put the prawns.

Make sure the prawns are all were coated in the marinade, cover the dish and put aside for 30 minutes. (If you want to prepare the dish for later, put them for several hours in the fridge).

Heat the oil in a pan.

Add the mustard, the fenugreek, the fennel, the nigella seeds, the onion and the curry leaves.

Stir-fry until the onion softens.

Add the prawns together with their marinade.

Let them simmer until they turn all pink, adding some water to obtain the desired thickness.

Add the garam masala, give the curry a stir and warm for 1 more minute.

Serve with Indian breads (such as naan or chapatti), but it’s also very good with rice.

14 Replies to “Super Light Creamy Indian Prawn Curry”

  1. What a delicious looking meal. I haven’t cooked Indian food in some time. Maybe it’s time to start thinking of something I can make with what’s on hand. 🙂

  2. A yogurt based curry, now that’s new. We love a good curry and we both really, really love shrimp. Even though I love coconut curry, I always feel guilty about all of the calories. So I’m looking forward to trying yogurt next time. Thanks Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, MJ. It was also new to me and I loved it (also because of the calories!).

  3. This is the second amazing looking seafood curry I see tonight. We already had dinner and I am actually not hungry at all, but my mouth is watering, I could eat a double serving of this although I am full. 🙂

  4. What an amazing curry Sissi! You definitely have it with photographing curries! You make them look irresistible. Not that they aren’t!

    1. Thank you so much, Katerina. I always feel curries are so difficult to photograph (but look so delicious in real life! or maybe it’s the aroma???).

  5. Such interesting techniques and tools the Grandmother has on those videos but I can see why you might adapt them to your preferences.The curry you made looks creamy and delicious, Perhaps it did not curdle because you used Greek yogurt? Not sure,but it almost always curdles for me. But then I take the stick blender and blend a bit to smooth it out, it always works!

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. The cutting tool looked scary at the beginning, but she’s been using it for decades, so it’s probably simpler for her now than a normal knife.
      Yes, I have used Greek yogurt! (Though, after posting this recipe I cooked the same with fish and also Greek yogurt…. which curdled! I have no idea why it worked for the first time!).
      Thank you for the tip!

      1. Come to think of it, my dear Mom used to mix 1 tablespoon flour to every cup of flour so whatever sauce she was cooking wouldn’t curdle!

  6. This bowl literally has me salivating! Isn’t it remarkable what yogurt can do to a curry sauce? I felt precisely that way about my Butter Chicken recipe (sans butter…. 😉 Beautiful work Sissi – looking forward to trying this one.

    1. Thank you, Kelly! I remember your fantastic butter chicken, of course! It’s always such a nice surprise to discover one doesn’t need much fat to obtain delicious results…

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