Goan Prawn Ambotik

Goan hot and sour prawn curry with coconut, chilli and tamarind

Goan Ambotik is a classic recipe hailing from the west of India. Cooked traditionally with fish the key to this recipe is the use of fresh coconut rather than coconut milk. I’ve used prawn in my recipe as the sweetness of the prawns is perfect with the hot and sour flavours of the gravy. ‘Ambat’ in the local language means tangy and ‘tik’ or ‘tikhat’ as in Maharashtra/ Goa means spicy or hot. The heat of the curry comes from the dried chillies. I’ve opted for Kashmiri chillies which lend a lovely flavour and colour to the gravy. If you like it spicy use 10 or reduce the quantity if you prefer it milder. The paste also include vinegar and goan vinegar is perfect for it which lends the sour element. Finish the curry with tamarind paste although as always make sure to taste you curry before you add the tamarind and add only as much as you require. My tamarind paste is fairly diluted so 1 teaspoon is perfect!

Served with plain rice this is what a Friday night at home needs!


  1. Add the prawns to a bowl along with the turmeric and salt. Mix well and set aside

  2. In a frying pan add the cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Roast without any oil for 4-5 minutes over a low heat. Stir as they release their aroma and change colour. Turn the heat off leaves to cool.

  3. Add the cumin and coriander to a spice grinder along with the cloves and dried red chillies. Blitz to a fine powder. To this add the coconut, garlic, ginger and vinegar. Blend adding the water a little at a time until smooth and set aside.

  4. In a heavy bottom sauce pan heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and fry for 8-10 minutes.

  5. As they begin to colour stir well and add the tomatoes continuing to fry for 4 minutes. The tomatoes will begin to soften. Now add the coconut paste and fry over a medium heat for 7-8 minutes stirring well

  6. Add the water and season to taste along with some sugar. Simmer for 2-3 minutes on a low heat and add the prawns cook for a further 3 minutes with the lid on over a low heat.

  7. Add the tamarind paste and stir. Turn the heat off and garnish with coriander serving the curry with hot rice.

  • Louise

    Maunika, I loved the color of your Ambot tik, but, traditionally we don’t put coconut in this curry. I am sure that it is awesome though.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      This recipe is based on my mother’s friend Edi Mascarenhas whose cooked it for years! She does add coconut and yes it is absolutely delicious! You can of course leave it out if you prefer:)

  • Sofia Dias

    Traditional Ambot tik has no coconut in it. It features chillies garlic/ginger and tamarind mainly. This recipe above is our traditional coconut prawn curry which is delicious too.
    I like your recipes Maunika. They are spot on.
    Warm regards

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      This recipe is from a family friend hailing in Panjim:)

  • Roger

    Tomatoes generally don’t feature in Goan cuisine. Tomatoes didn’t come to Goa till recent year. Ambot Tikh always had coconut. We use kokum or tamarind to bring in ambot (sour) taste.

  • aparna

    Loved it! Put too many coriander seeds though. I also added a little coconut milk at the end.

    • Maunika Gowardhan



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