One of those starters that never fails to hit the spot, prawn puri is simply sensational!
Tender prawns in a delicious, spicy tomato masala, served on a crisp and light deep fried puri. There’s no wonder prawn puri is one of the most popular starters in Indian restaurants. Now it’s time to make your own!
Products you need for this recipe
Here are a few key items you’ll need to make this prawn puri recipe:
- Cast iron frying pan – when it comes to cooking curry, I wouldn’t use anything else
- Curry serving dishes – it’s great to have an authentic Indian serving bowl when serving up your Indian starters
- Tomato puree – essential to get that intense tomato taste, it also helps to thicken the sauce
- Garam masala – an essential spice mix, garam is a blend of cinnamon, mace, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and cardamom and brings a wonderful depth of flavour
- Ground cumin – an earthy aromatic spice, cumin is pretty much an ever-present when it comes to curry recipes
- Ground turmeric – not only does turmeric bring a wonderful flavor but it also helps to get that beautifully vivid reddish golden colour to the masala sauce
Prawn puri recipe
There’s something about the combination of the spicy tomato masala sauce and the subtly sweet, tender prawns that really makes the mouth water.
Prawn puri is such a simple recipe and is really quick to make. In fact, it’s barely 15 minutes! It’s just a matter of sizzling up the onions, garlic and ginger, along with the spices and tomatoes, then adding the prawns.
What is puri?
The actual “puri” part of this recipe is made separately… check out my light, fluffy gluten free puri recipe and make it alongside this one that makes prawn puri. It’s the perfect way to mop up all the delicious juices and is the traditional way to serve up this dish.
Puri (sometimes called ‘poori’) is normally served up as a starter – you’ve probably seen it in your local Indian restaurant – although you could also make it as a main meal.
It’s a type of bread that is deep-fried without the use of yeast or any other raising agent. Puri is often made with whole wheat flour, although my gluten free version uses chapati flour.
This bread is of Bangladeshi origin, although you’ll find it all over the Indian sub-continent. Even though you can find it in many Indian restaurants, don’t let that mislead you to believing it is of Indian origin!
The term ‘puri’ derives from the Sanskrit word ‘pura’ which means filled.
Of course, in this recipe, I make my puri with a delicious prawn filling, hence the name prawn puri.
What is prawn puri made of?
This prawn puri is a recipe of two halves: the prawns and the tangy, spicy and rich masala sauce – a combination of garlic and ginger, onions, garam, fresh tomatoes and tomato puree.
It’s a starter that’s very popular in India but is actually of Bangladeshi origin. It’s something you have to try if you love Indian cuisine and spicy foods.
What are the best prawns for this recipe?
King prawns are always a good bet in a prawn curry. Big, juicy and tender, they also soak up a lot of the juices.
Another big, tasty type of prawn is tiger prawns. You can get both king and tiger prawns with heads and shells removed. I highly recommend them for this prawn puri recipe.
You can also buy fresh prawns from a fish market. It’s great to buy fresh ingredients, but be aware that you are adding prep time by having to remove the shells and heads of the prawns. If you’ve got the time, go for it!
Prawns should never smell fishy. If they do, don’t get them. Instead, they should smell fresh and clean and should look moist.
Remember that you might need to adjust the cooking time, depending on the size of the prawn.
How long do you cook prawns for?
Small prawns take around 2 minutes and medium sized prawns take around 3–4 minutes. Large prawns need a little longer – around 5–8 minutes.
How can you tell when prawns are cooked?
The key to knowing when prawns are cooked is their colour. Raw, uncooked prawns are a translucent grey colour. Cooked prawns turn an opaque white with a bit of pinky, reddish colour.
If the prawns are still grey, keep on cooking!
If the prawns start curling up into a tight little “O” shape, they’re overcooked.
Can you cook prawns from frozen?
It’s safe to cook prawns from frozen, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You’ll most likely end up with rubbery overcooked prawns, which would be a waste of a delicious ingredient.
Can you leave out the prawns from this recipe?
Leave them out?! It’s called a PRAWN puri for a reason you know.
Only kidding. If prawns aren’t your thing you can easily make this recipe with skinless, boneless chicken pieces. It’ll be just as delicious.
Chop the chicken pieces into bite size chunks and cook for 8–10 minutes.
You could also use mussels in place of prawns in this recipe.
Oil or ghee?
You can use either oil or ghee in this prawn puri. If you do use oil, go for vegetable oil or something with a neutral flavour.
If you’ve never cooked with ghee before, this is a great recipe to use it for the first time.
What is ghee?
Ghee is a form of clarified butter that is very popular in Asian cooking. It’s made by melting regular butter. This separates the liquid fats and milk solids. The milk solids are then removed.
Ghee has a high smoking point, making it great for curries, which often need to be cooked over a high heat. It also has a very distinctive nutty taste, which makes it perfect for curries, and it also has some health benefits.
What can you serve with this recipe?
As I mentioned before, my gluten free puri is perfect for this recipe. It’s a deep-fried bread that’s traditionally made in India to accompany prawn curry.
There is nothing better than eating freshly made bread, so don’t miss out on this one!
Do you need to use tomato puree?
Yes! It brings a rich tomato taste to the masala sauce. You can substitute it with tomato concentrate or sun dried tomato paste.
What spices are best for this recipe?
Garam is the key spice in this prawn puri recipe. Cumin and turmeric are also important to bring an earthy spiciness.
You can also use ground mustard seeds, ground fenugreek, ground coriander and chilli powder.
How about kashmiri chilli powder?
Yes, kashmiri chilli powder is a great ingredient to use in prawn puri. It’s popular in Indian food and brings moderate heat and a real vivid red colour.
How do you know when the sauce is done?
You’ll only need to simmer the sauce for around 10 minutes after all the ingredients have been added to the pan.
You’ll know the sauce is done when the tomatoes have completely collapsed into the sauce. It will have turned thick and glossy.
Make sure you’re happy with the consistency and taste of your sauce before you add your prawns.
Why finish with lime juice and coriander?
Lime juice and coriander are really important parts of this prawn puri recipe. They add a final flourish. Lime brings an important tang to the prawn puri, while coriander adds a refreshing, earthy citrus taste.
More prawn curry recipes
- Prawn korma – along with prawn puri, this is the standout classic Indian prawn curry
- Creamy prawn and mango curry – deliciously fruity and rich
- Isso baduma – Sri Lankan street food that brings explosive flavour
- King prawn butterfly – simple to make yet so effective. Subtle spices and a crispy batter, with deliciously juicy king prawns at the centre of it all
More amazing Indian starters
- Chicken tikka – the classic Indian starter, also known as Murgh Tikka, has become a well-known dish all over the world. With good reason too! It’s rich, creamy and beautifully spiced, with a melt-in-the-mouth tenderness that keeps you coming back for more
- Mushroom bhaji – if you’re looking for something new and interesting to do with mushrooms, this is the recipe for you! The mushrooms are pan-fried in a selection of spices including coriander, cumin, garam masala and chilli powder
- Potato bhajis – another delicious bhaji recipe, this is Indian street food at its finest. Spiced potatoes coated in batter and deep fried. Sometimes simplicity is best and this recipe is a perfect example. They’re so moreish and taste extra special when homemade
- Cucumber raita – the little unsung hero of Indian starters, cucumber raita is pretty much an ever-present addition to the table at Indian restaurants. It plays a big role though, bringing some much needed coolness and balance alongside other spicier dishes. Make your own… it’s so easy!
- Mushroom pakora – another mushroom starter, these are mushrooms coated in batter and spices and deep fried. Amazing finger food, inexpensive, and it’s quick and easy to make
- Masala chana chaat – now for something completely different! A tangy chickpea salad, with potatoes, pomegranates, roasted peanuts, mango chutney and spices. It’s a big heady mix of flavours and tastes out of this world
- Bombay aloo – quick and easy to prepare, this classic Indian starter is one you have to try!
- Kerala paratha
- Keema matar
- Makai ka soweta
Prawn puri is actually a Bangladeshi prawn starter commonly found on Indian restaurant menus. It comprises a tomato-based prawn curry served on top of an Indian fried bread, called puri. Delicious!
- 15ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger
- 3 large tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 green chilli, washed and finely chopped
- 15ml (1 tbsp) tomato puree
- 6g (1 tbsp) garam masala
- 2g (1 tsp) ground cumin
- 1g (½ tsp) turmeric
- 125ml (½ cup) water
- 450g (1lb) raw peeled prawns
- 1 lime, juiced
- coriander leaves
- Heat the ghee in a large frying pan and slowly cook the onions, garlic and ginger until softened.
- Turn up the heat and add the tomatoes.
- Let the tomatoes sizzle for two minutes then add the chili, puree, masala, cumin, turmeric and water.
- Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes have “melted” and the sauce has thickened.
- Add the prawns and cook for 2 minutes until they are cooked through.
- Sprinkle with lime juice and fresh coriander leaves.
- Make your own Indian starter at home, by spooning the prawns on top of fresh, homemade gluten free puri.
- Category: Starter
- Method: Pan Fry
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: prawn recipes, prawn puri, how to cook prawns, poori, prawn starters, prawn dish, shrimp puri, puri recipe