Coconut Tiger Prawn Curry

Cover recipe- The Best of Gourmet 1998: Featuring the Flavors of India, Coconut Tiger Prawn Curry: Copyright 1998

Cover recipe- The Best of Gourmet 1998: Featuring the Flavors of India, Coconut Tiger Prawn Curry: Copyright 1998

I have a little confession: when The Best of Gourmet 1998: Featuring the Flavors of India came out I hadn’t even heard of Gourmet (I was actually still in high school!). And at the time I don’t think I had ever even tried Indian food. My love for both of those things came later; Indian food during college when my best friend (who happened to be Indian) not only took me to every Indian restaurant within a three town radius for sampling the best of what each had to offer, but also took me home with her one weekend where I got to relish her mother’s home-cooked meals. And my love for Gourmet came even later yet, when I started to discover the joys of cooking a beautiful gourmet meal at home.

So how did I come to be in the possession of such a book? It was a sunny afternoon and I was happily spending it outdoors…not hiking or swimming, but doing something that any food blogger considers a serious sport nonetheless: prop shopping! Specifically, I was hitting up a ton of yard sales in search of can’t-be-found-anywhere-else items. I saw the cover of this book and immediately knew I had struck gold. Not only does seeing Gourmet tug at my heartstrings (oh how I miss it!), but I can always go for Indian food. (I am not even joking…my hubby and I will plan date nights out and when he asks me where I want to go for dinner, nine times out of ten my reply is one of two things: 1) How about Indian?, or 2) How about Pakistani?.) I already knew I wanted the book, and as soon as I flipped back to the recipe of the cover dish (Coconut Tiger Prawn Curry) I immediately knew that it wouldn’t be long before I made it. I love curry, and what I loved about this particular curry is that it doesn’t have curry powder in it – just a variety of ingredients to provide sweet, heat, and spice. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.


Print Print Recipe

Coconut Tiger Prawn Curry (Thengai Konju Curry)

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 20 min


2 garlic cloves
1 (1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh gingerroot
3 fresh hot green chilies, such as Serrano
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (14 oz) can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
2 lbs jumbo tiger prawns or jumbo shrimp (about 24)


1. Mince the garlic and gingerroot. Wearing rubber gloves, finely chop the chilies.

2. In a deep, heavy 12-inch skillet, cook the onion in the oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the edges are browned, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the garlic, gingerroot, chilies, and remaining ingredients (except coconut milk and prawns or shrimp) and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

4. Stir in the coconut milk and remove the skillet from the heat. (You can make the sauce up to this point up to 2 days in advance; cool completely, cover, and store refrigerated.)

5. Shell the prawns or shrimp, leaving the tails and first shell segments intact; devein.

6. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring. Add the prawns or shrimp and simmer (uncovered), stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.


*I made the recipe exactly as written and we loved it!
*Served with basmati rice and a chopped salad of cucumber, tomato, onion, parsley, and lemon/olive oil dressing, this meal was perfection.
*I’m not a fan of food that’s too spicy-hot (with ingredients like chilies), but I thought the natural sweetness from onion and unsweetened coconut milk (which still has quite a bit of natural sweet flavor) balanced the heat in this dish perfectly.

The results:

This was a fantastic curry! Many Indian curries I’ve had make good (and plentiful!) use of curry powder, so I really enjoyed the fact that this one was a little different and didn’t call for it at all. Instead, it was perfectly balanced and very flavorful with a few fresh ingredients (garlic, ginger, and chilies) in addition to a few individual spices instead of a pre-made mix (ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves), which are likely to be found in just about any well-stocked pantry.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes! It was a wonderful curry, one I will definitely be making again, and probably soon. This is the sort of meal that is filling without being too heavy, so I think of it as all-season food.

Faith Gorsky is the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind the blog Edible Mosaic , and she is the cookbook author of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair (Tuttle Publishing; November 2012). She was born, raised, and spent most of her life in Upstate New York, and she currently lives in Kuwait. When it comes to cooking, her favorite thing to do is go into the kitchen hungry, open the fridge, and start creating. She loves to travel, especially to places steeped in rich culture and history. She also enjoys reading (cookbooks mostly), vintage shopping (especially in old markets), watching movies (of all genres), and is enamored with ancient cultures (especially Rome and Egypt).

5 Responses to “Coconut Tiger Prawn Curry”

  1. 1

    Tieghan — May 28, 2013 @ 6:12 am

    Oh I love all these flavors! This sounds like a great dish!

  2. 2

    Alyssa (Everyday Maven) — May 28, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    Beautiful photos Faith. I am printing this out – Whole Foods has some extra large, wild caught shrimp on sale right now and this is exactly what I am going to do with them! Thanks :)

  3. 3

    Eha — May 28, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

    An absolutely lovely prawn recipe: so simple with so much flavour – have to admit the cloves are new and will be trialled within days : ) !

  4. 4

    Deborah Harroun — May 29, 2013 @ 9:14 am

    Want! Now if I could just get my husband to like curries…

  5. 5

    Abby — May 29, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

    oh, this looks so delicious…
    love the combination of flavors/spices.
    a must-try. for sure!

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