super-quick prawn curry

recipe for tamarind and coconut curry

John Gregory Smith’s Tamarind and Coconut Prawn Curry – quick, fresh and delicious!


Ready in 20 minutes! This is a super-quick prawn curry, which is hot, sweet and sour all at once. If you can’t find tamarind, just squeeze in the juice of a lime. And chilli powder and freshly ground black pepper are fine if you don’t have the whole spices.

Tamarind and Coconut Prawn Curry

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

250g/9oz/1¼ cups basmati rice
2 onions
2 tbsp groundnut oil
3 dried red chillies
10 peppercorns
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
400ml/14fl oz/generous 1½ cups coconut milk
3 tsp tamarind paste
500g/1lb 2oz raw, peeled king prawns (with or without tails)
1 handful of coriander leaves
sea salt


1. Cook the rice in boiling water for 10–12 minutes until soft, or as directed on the packet. Drain in a colander and return to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and then the lid. Leave to one side so that the rice can fluff up ready to eat.

2. Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the onions. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until just turning golden.

3. While the onions cook, chuck the chillies and peppercorns into a spice grinder, and grind into a fine powder. Tip the ground spices into the pan with the cooked onions and add the paprika, turmeric and a good pinch of salt.

4. Mix well, pour in the coconut milk and add the tamarind paste. Mix everything together really well so that the sauce takes on a rich red colour. Bring to the boil and add the prawns. Give them a good stir in the hot sauce, then cover and cook for 5–6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the prawns are cooked through and beautifully pink.

5. Meanwhile, roughly chop the coriander. Scatter the coriander over the cooked curry and serve with the rice.


‘Spice master’ John Gregory-Smith shows how exciting food – inspired by street stalls all over the world – can be prepared with lightning speed. With inspiration from Asia, South America, North Africa and the Middle East, John has done the thinking for you and created recipes that are full of brilliant time-saving techniques and shortcuts.


John Gregory Smith's Mighty Spice Express Cookbook“Fast, fresh and full-on flavours from street foods to the spectacular”

Mighty Spice Express by John Gregory-Smith

224 pages • Illustrated • £20.00

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