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side shot of Chettinad prawn curry served in a tradtional serveware
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5 from 9 votes

Chettinad Prawn Masala Recipe

Chettinad Prawn Masala is a finger-licking good South Indian style prawn curry. Learn how to make prawn masala in a few simple steps. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Hina Gujral


  • Heavy Bottom Kadhai
  • Blender


  • 500 gram prawns cleaned and deveined
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamom, crushed
  • 2 large-size onion fine, chopped
  • 2 large size tomato, blend
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoon mustard oil/gingely oil/coconut oil

Ingredients for Chettinad Masala

  • 3 - 4 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 2 teaspoon black peppercorns (sabut kali mirch)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 4 dried red chilies esp goondu milagai variety
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (sabut dhaniya)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon ginger - garlic paste


  • To prepare Chettinad Prawn Masala, first wash, clean and devein the prawns. If possible, use the pre-cleaned prawns.

How To Make Chettinad Masala:

  • Dry roast fennel seeds, black pepper, cumin, red chilies, coriander seeds till fragrant and slightly darkened. Grind them in a mixer to a smooth paste using little water.
  • Add turmeric and ginger - garlic paste to the freshly ground spice mix. Stir to combine and set aside in a bowl.

How To Make Chettinad Prawn Masala:

  • Heat oil in a large kadhai over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods, curry leaves and saute for few seconds till fragrant. Add the chopped onion and saute over low heat till onion is light brown.
  • Next, add the tomato puree and fry the masala for 10 minutes or so over low heat. The indication of masala being ready is oil starts separating from it.
  • Now add the Chettinad paste to the fried onion and stir to combine. Continue to saute the masala scraping the bottom of the kadhai, till the masala takes deep brown color and nicely roasted.
  • At this stage add the clean prawns, salt and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and cook the prawns 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Serve Chettinad Prawn Masala with lachha paratha, steamed rice, and tomato rasam


  • You can use frozen prawns as well to make Chettinad Prawn Masala. 
  • Do not cook the prawns for too long as they might turn chewy. 
  • Adjust the number of chilies in the Chettinad masala paste and curry as per your taste preference. 
  • You can balance the heat of spices by adding 1 - 2 tablespoons of coconut milk. 


Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 315mg | Sodium: 980mg | Potassium: 375mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 578IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 235mg | Iron: 4mg