Mangalorean Prawn Sukke

Spicy prawns cooked with chilli, turmeric, coconut & tamarind


This is one of my favourite ways to cook prawns. The masala for this prawn sukke (‘sukka or sukke’ meaning dry) is rich, full of flavour and the perfect consistency to coat chunks of king prawns. The influences from the region of Mangalore and the technique of cooking are similar to those across the konkan/ karavalli coast from murud all the way to Mangalore in the south. Traditional recipes from the region of Karnataka have a distinct influence not just from the west of India but also from southern flavours of the country.

My recipe for prawns sukke include a delicious coconut paste which gives the semi dry dish the flavour and also heat in the resultant gravy. My favourite way to serve this has got to be with ghee rice but then even just a simple bread roll would be so very delicious!


  1. Add the prawns to a large bowl and sprinkle over the turmeric powder and pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside. Crush the garlic and ginger to a smooth paste in a grinder or pestle and mortar.

  2. Heat a frying pan over a low flame. Add the all the ingredients of the spice paste except the coconut. Roast for 7-8 minutes stirring a few times while they release their aroma and change colour slightly. Turn the heat off and cool the spices.

  3. Grind the spices in a spice grinder to a powder. Decant into a bowl. If the coconut has any moisture dab lightly with a kitchen towel. In the same grinder add the coconut and grind it roughly. Add the coconut to the spice powder and set aside.

  4. mangalorean-prawn-sukke-3

    In a large heavy bottom sauce pan heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds as they begin the splutter add the chopped onions. Fry for 14-15 minutes stirring well making sure they soften and go light brown in colour.

  5. Add the curry leaves and now turning the heat to a low setting add the garlic and ginger paste. Fry for 2 minutes

  6. Add the chilli powder, blended spice and coconut mix along with the tamarind paste. Stir for a few seconds and add the marinated prawns. Mix well and season to taste.

  7. Add the water and simmer over a low heat for 5-6 minutes with the lid on until the prawns are cooked all the way through. Stir half way through cooking. Turn the heat off and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with plain rice or pav/ bread roll and some raita.

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