Mangalorean food is delicious but still rather undiscovered in Australia. Here is a simplified version of a delicious prawn ghassi curry for busy cooks.


  • 500g raw prawns, shelled and deveined, but tails left on

  • Salt

  • ½ tsp ground turmeric, plus more for the prawns

  • 3 – 4 tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil

  • 1 rounded tbsp coriander seeds

  • Good pinch of fenugreek seeds

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 15 black peppercorns

  • 3 – 6 dried Kashmiri chillies, or 2 – 4 regular dried chillies

  • 115g grated fresh coconut (find it fresh in many supermarkets, or frozen in Asian stores)

  • 2 onions, 1 quartered, 1 finely chopped

  • 5 large garlic cloves

  • 20g roughly chipped root ginger (peeled weight)

  • Chilli powder (to taste)

  • 2½ tbsp tamarind paste (or to taste)


  • 1.

    Wash the prawns well, apply a little salt and turmeric, and set aside.

  • 2.

    Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a small pan and gently roast the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and dried chillies. Once they have darkened a little bit and are aromatic, scrape straight into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

  • 3.

    Place the spice powder into a blender with the coconut, the quartered onion, garlic, ginger, the ½ tsp ground turmeric, the tamarind and enough water to help the blades turn, and blend until very smooth; it might take a few minutes to get it smooth, but persevere.

  • 4.

    Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick pan; add the chopped onion and home salt and sauté until coloured on the edges. Add the paste and sauté for 10 – 12 minutes or until it releases oil back into the ban; it will stick so do keep an eye on it and stir as necessary. Then stir-fry for another 4 – 5 minutes or so over a high-ish flame until it moves around in a ball around the pan. Taste, it should be harmonious. Add chilli powder to taste, if required.

  • 5.

    Add 2 cups water and stir well as you bring to the boil, then reduce the heat a little and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the prawns, cover and cook over a medium heat until the prawns are done, just 2 – 3 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning and the level of tang with tamarind and serve hot.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

  • Energy 355kj
  • Fat Total 22g
  • Saturated Fat 9g
  • Protein 20g
  • Carbohydrate 21g
  • Sugar 8g
  • Sodium 723mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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This is an edited extract from 'I Love India' by Anjum Anand, published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $39.99 and available in stores nationally.

Photographer: ©Martin Poole

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