Parsi style prawns

January 22nd, 2013

This week I want to share a recipe for prawns cooked Parsi style.

This is an ancient recipe that has been passed down the generations by word of mouth.

In this particular recipe the prawns are fried in a masala which uses only five  ingredients (besides salt and oil) and the end result is the most amazing prawn dish!!

So, let’s get started.

Parsi style prawns


1. 1 kg green prawns (with shell)
2. 2 1/2 tablespoons brown cumin seeds
3. 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
4. 1/2 cup brown vinegar or apple cider vinegar
5.1 teaspoon turmeric powder
6. 2 teaspoons chilli powder
7. 1 teaspoon salt
8. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

clockwise from left to right: roasted cumin seeds, brown vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), garlic cloves, vegetable oil, turmeric, salt & chilli powder and prawns (centre)


1. Remove the shell from the prawns, devein and refrigerate.

shelled & deveined prawns

2. Roast the cumin seeds and let cool.

roasting cumin seeds

3. Grind the cumin seeds, garlic cloves and brown vinegar to a fine paste.

cumin seeds, garlic cloves and brown vinegar for the masala

masala ground to a fine paste

4. In a pan, add the oil and immediately add the masala (spice mix).

add masala to cold oil

5. Add the turmeric, chilli powder and salt to the masala.

add the turmeric, chilli powder & salt to the masala

6. Cook over moderate heat until the spice mix is cooked and the oil rises to the surface. (See no. 1 below.)

mix well and cook over moderate heat

the masala starts to change colour

the masala is ready when it starts to bubble and the oil leaves the sides of the pan

7. Add the prawns and fold in the masala till it coats the prawns.

add the prawns

prawns coated with ‘masala’

8. Increase the heat and cover the pan. Cook for 1 minute and then reduce heat to moderate-high.

prawns ready to be covered

cover with lid

9. When cooked, serve the prawns as an accompaniment with dhaan dal (rice and dal), or as a salad, or as a pickle, or as a main course with Indian flat breads, or . . . well, the choices are endless!

serve on a bed of salad leaves

ready for the masala

drizzle some masala on the prawns

a serving of parsi style prawns

And finally, a few facts to remember when cooking this dish:

1. Start cooking the masala in cold oil. Heat the oil after the masala has been added. Adding the masala to the cold oil helps cook it till the flavours from the ground spices comes out without burning it!
2. If brown vinegar is not available, use apple cider vinegar instead.
3. This dish can also be made with fish, especially a dried fish called boomla (that’s also frequently known as Bombay Duck) and it can then be used as a pickle!
4. You can use any leftover spice mix to cook with slices of eggplant, or grated carrots, as you wish.

Let me know how you get on with this superb dish!

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhava!!


  1. dassana

    such a simple recipe chef ajoy. will try this with potatoes or mushrooms. am sure will taste great.

  2. Ajoy Joshi

    Thanks Lalitha,
    Happy cooking !!

  3. Lalitha

    Thank you for sharing all these awesome the food photography too.

  4. isingcakes

    It is such a simple yet superb dish to make.Thanks for the share.

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