Goan Prawn Curry with Coconut is a spicy, sour curry that comes from Goa and is also called Ambot Tik. Ready in under 30 minutes, serve this with steamed rice and you have a truly satisfying meal!
This is exactly what a satisfying meal starts with - some Goan prawn curry made with coconut which is going to comfort you and make you feel like you are home and warm and safe.
I've already told you how much I love all things coastal and this started with meeting my Mangalorean husband whose family makes the most delicious food. I'll invite you guys over someday!
So when I got this recipe from a Goan friend who got it from her grandmother, I was jumping guys!
Now this Goan Prawn Curry is pretty authentic, but I have to tell you that like everything in India, every home has their own way of making things, so I'm sure if you are Goan, your grandma must have her own ways. I really love this version because it tasted like the curry I've always had in Goa, sitting by the beach with a beer in hand.
Ingredients for Prawn Curry
Here are the main ingredients you'll need for this ground masala
Spices: Coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, turmeric are all the spices you need for the ground masala for flavour and fragrance
Souring Agent: I use tamarind which is most easily available. Sub with 1 teaspoon tamarind paste. Kokum is another great alternative that's most popular in Goan cuisine - use 2 pieces of kokum instead of tamarind
Coconut: Both freshly grated coconut as well as coconut milk. This is not traditional in some recipes of Ambot Tik but it's how the recipe was given to me, and I also love the body that it creates for the gravy
Garlic because every good gravy needs garlic and I truly believe that 😂
Chillies: Kashmiri Red Chillies for that distinct orange colour and a mild heat
All of this is ground to paste in a blender till its really smooth.
Once this ground paste is ready, you'll need a few more ingredients:
Coconut Oil because most coastal recipes are incomplete without it, and it adds a distinct flavour that elevates the curry. You can use any other neutral flavoured oil to replace it. Stay away from olive oil for this though! A good substitute is ghee.
Curry Leaves are essential as a herb. If you don't have access to fresh, try to source dried curry leaves and double the amount
Prawns: While you can use any size of prawns with this recipe, we used deveined and cleaned Jumbo Prawns or Shrimp because we love digging into them. But you can easily use small or medium sized prawns if that's what you have. This recipe also works really well with Fish if you are in the mood for some Goan Fish Curry.
Frozen vs Fresh Prawns
When working with seafood, if you don't live on the coast, it's always better to use frozen prawns vs. fresh prawns because that's fresher than fresh. While using frozen prawns, check out my tips to defrost prawns safely - these work for any kind of seafood.
Since prawns defrost pretty quickly (about 15-20 minutes), you can get everything else ready - grind the masala, cook the onion, tomato mixture etc. while the prawns defrost so that you have this prawn curry on the table in about 30 minutes!
Step by Step Recipe
1 Add all the ingredients for the ground masala into a blender. You can add a little water if required but the coconut milk takes care of the liquid component
2. Grind to a smooth paste. You'll see the paste changing colour and turning to a deep orange
1. To make the gravy, start by sauteing ginger and onions in coconut oil till the onions turn translucent
2. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook them till tomatoes become soft and pulpy
3. Pour the ground curry paste along with about a cup of water. You can add the water to the grinder and swirl it to get any remnants of the curry paste
4. Bring it to a quick boil and then cover and simmer for 10 minutes till you see oil floating to the top
5. Once the gravy has boiled well, add the deveined and cleaned prawns
6. Add curry leaves at this stage to keep their aroma fresh
7. Mix and bring the curry to a quick boil
8. Only 5-7 minutes of simmering and the prawn curry is ready to serve!
Top Tips to make this curry amazing!
- Make sure to grind the paste till its smooth. Use a high powered blender and add a little more water if you need. If it's gritty it won't taste great
- Use freshly grated coconut. If you don't have access to it, look 'freshly grated frozen coconut'. Fresh is different from dessicated coconut and they cant be substituted
- Make sure to simmer the curry base for at least 10 minutes or it'll taste raw
- Prawns cook really quickly. 7-8 minutes for jumbo prawns is enough, 4-5 minutes for medium prawns and just 2-3 minutes for small prawns
More Seafood Recipes
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Goan Prawn Curry with Coconut (Ambot Tik)
For the Prawns
- 20 Jumbo Prawns or Shrimp approx 250 grams, cleaned and deveined, refer to Note 1
For the ground Masala
For the Curry
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 1 tablespoon finely minced Ginger
- ½ cup finely chopped Onions
- ½ cup finely chopped Tomatoes
- ¾ teaspoon Salt
- 8-10 Curry Leaves
- Grind all the ingredients mentioned under ground masala with coconut milk to a smooth paste and set aside.
- In a pan, heat coconut oil and add ginger and onions. Saute the onions till they are a light golden brown and add tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for 5-7 minutes till they break down easily with the back of a spoon.
- Add the ground masala and salt to the pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame and simmer the masala for 10-15 minutes till the color deepens slightly.
- Add the defrosted (drain the water) prawns to the gravy and cook them for 7-8 minutes (cooking times will change based on the size of prawns used - refer to notes below). Sprinkle curry leaves on top, mix well and switch off the flame. Let the curry rest for 5 minutes before serving with steamed rice.
- Wash, clean and devein the prawns before using. Do not skip this step as it is imperative to ensure food safety when consuming seafood.
- If available, use freshly grated coconut and fresh or homemade coconut milk. If you are buying frozen, look for 'freshly grated frozen coconut'. Its different from dessicated coconut which will change the flavour completely
- Be sure to cook the ground masala until all the raw smell goes, at least 10 minutes
- Make sure to only add defrosted prawns. Adding frozen prawns will leave out water in the pan making the curry diluted.
- Don't overcook the prawns. Cook jumbo prawns for 7-8 minutes, medium prawns for 4-5 minutes and small prawns for only 2-3 minutes.