Prawns Masala/ Chemmeen Mulakittathu

This is comfort food to me, well!!!

People, being grown up in the coastal regions are big fish eaters. Seafood, whether it is prawns or fish or squid, has always been special to me,  because it was made very often during my younger days at home.

Chemmeen/Prawns is regular in my kitchen but for the past few days I have been cutting the corners of all my prawn recipes. Not that I I would not venture hour-long cutting and chopping, but my hero is allergic to seafoods 🙁  I do a fair share of cooking nowadays. Some days are like that…

This is what I made today, that brought the broadest smiles, not just on me, but on him. “Prawns Masala/ Chemmeen Mulakittathu” with the authentic kerala flavours oozing through. Although the list of ingredients and process may seem a bit overwhelming, when you actually go into making it, you will realize that it actually is the simplest one ever! This recipe can be made with equal success in fish too.temp 23

Author: Nathiya Adiseshan
Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 25 mins
Serves : 3 to 4

Masala Paste:

  • 1 cup Coconut, dessicated/grated
  • 1 medium Onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 4 Red chillies
  • 3 tablespoon Coriander seeds/ dhaniya
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Oil


  • 500 grams Prawns, deveined
  • 1 medium Tomato, chopped
  • 1 Brinjal, chopped
  • Tamarind, Goose-berry sized or to taste
  • 3 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • Salt

Here we go….!!!!

  1. Clean and devein the prawns. Soak the tamarind in 1/4 cup warm water for 15 minutes and extract its juice.

  2. Heat oil in a pan at medium heat. Fry dried red chillies, coriander seeds, curry leaves and onion. Add in grated coconut and fry till light brown. Switch off the flame.
  3. Let it cool. Add in a pinch of turmeric powder. Transfer into a blender and pulse, adding water bit by bit, to get a very fine paste.

    temp 19
    Add in a pinch of turmeric powder.  Transfer to a blender and grind to a fine paste.
  4. Cook the tomatoes and brinjal in a claypot/meenchatti adding salt and little water. Cover and cook until tomato gets mashed up.

    temp 13
    Cook the tomatoes and brinjal with little salt and water.
  5. Add the ground roasted coconut masala and tamarind extract. Mix well.
  6. Simmer till the gravy thickens on a low flame. Season with salt.

    temp 14
    Simmer till the gravy thickens
  7. Add in the prawns. Do not stir any more, rotate the pan to mix the prawns and the masala well. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. (Check in between, the prawns gets done quickly)

    temp 17
    Add in prawns gently.
  8. Switch off.
  9. Set aside for 15 minutes. Serve with rice or tapioca.temp 22

Special Note:

  • The prawns gets done quickly (within 3 minutes), so check in-between, else you will end up in rubbery prawns.
  • I have used Jumbo/King Prawns, you can use regular prawns too.
  • Pour a tbsp of coconut oil over the curry before serving. 

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