Rita’s Tamarind & Coconut Prawn Curry


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      20 min

Appears in

Mighty Spice Express Cookbook

Mighty Spice Express Cookbook

By John Gregory-Smith

Published 2013

  • About

This is a super-quick prawn curry, which is hot, sweet and sour all at once. If you can’t find tamarind, just squeeze in the juice of a lime. And chilli powder and freshly ground black pepper are fine if you don’t have the whole spices.


  • 250 g/9 oz/ cups basmati rice
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 400 ml/14 fl oz/generous cups coconut milk
  • 3 tsp tamarind paste
  • 500 g/1lb 2 oz raw, peeled king prawns (with or without tails)
  • 1 handful of coriander leaves
  • sea salt


    COOK THE RICE in boiling water for 10–12 minutes until soft, or as directed on the packet. Drain in a colander and return to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and then the lid. Leave to one side so that the rice can fluff up ready to eat.

    MEANWHILE, PEEL AND FINELY SLICE the onions. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until just turning golden.

    WHILE THE ONIONS COOK, chuck the chillies and peppercorns into a spice grinder, and grind into a fine powder. Tip the ground spices into the pan with the cooked onions and add the paprika, turmeric and a good pinch of salt.

    MIX WELL, pour in the coconut milk and add the tamarind paste. Mix everything together really well so that the sauce takes on a rich red colour. Bring to the boil and add the prawns. Give them a good stir in the hot sauce, then cover and cook for 5–6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the prawns are cooked through and beautifully pink. Meanwhile, roughly chop the coriander. Scatter the coriander over the cooked curry and serve with the rice.