Based on my maternal grandmother’s recipe, this is best made with fresh raw prawns rather than already cooked ones.

Recipes extracted from Andaza: A Memoir of Food, Flavour and Freedom in the Pakistani Kitchen by Sumayya Usmani (£25, Murdoch Books). Photographs: Jodi Wilson. Recipes are sent by the publisher and not retested by us.

This is a recipe that Sumayya shared as part of her guide to Pakistani cuisine. Check it out to learn about the aromatic flavours of this diverse South Asian country, including Sumayya's recipe for Bundoo Khan-style chicken boti tikka and street-side kulfi.

Try this prawn karahi, then check out our 10-minute prawn curry, prawn and black pepper curry, garlic prawns and healthy prawn masala. Now try our recipes for Eid.


  • 2 tbsp ghee or 1 tbsp unsalted butter with 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp ajwain seeds (optional)
  • 1cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, skins discarded, coarsely grated
  • 2 tbsp concentrated tomato purée
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp kashmiri chilli powder or other chilli powder or paprika
  • 450g shelled, deveined, fresh raw prawns


  • ½ lemon
  • 2½cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into fine strips
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped


  • STEP 1

    Heat the ghee in a wok or frying pan over a medium-high heat and, once hot, fry the cumin, nigella and ajwain seeds (if using) for 1 min until fragrant.

  • STEP 2

    Add the ginger and fry for 10-15 seconds or until fragrant, then stir in the tomatoes. Reduce the heat slightly, add a splash of water and stir until it starts to simmer. Add the tomato purée, turmeric, chilli powder and salt to taste.

  • STEP 3

    Keep cooking for 7-9 mins, or until the sauce thickens and the oil begins to rise to the surface. Add the prawns and cook, stirring, for 3-4 mins more, or until they turn pink – be careful not to overcook the prawns or they will go rubbery.

  • STEP 4

    Turn off the heat, add the garnishes and cover, leaving to infuse for a minute or so before serving.


Sumayya Usmani profile
Sumayya UsmaniFood writer

Alternative prawn curry recipes


Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating