Fresh Coconut and Prawn Curry

Fresh coconut and prawn curry

Coconut is a frequently used ingredient in curry across the Indian subcontinent and, consequently, Britain. In my experience, most British proponents of the coconut tend to use the desiccated variety, which perfectly acceptable. However, though acceptable, desiccated coconut lives up to its name through lack of moisture, passion and interest. Indeed, until you’ve dabbled in fresh, you’ve never properly experienced coconut.

Nothing beats the texture, flavour or creamy quality of fresh coconut. Of course, it can be a bit of a battle extracting the pure white flesh of this well-armoured drupe, but once laid bare in a fresh coconut and prawn curry, you’ll never look back. Life will never be the same again.

Fresh coconut and prawn curry

Inspiration for this recipe came directly from the glossy dome of Rick Stein – seafood specialist extraordinaire – and his wonderful new series on Indian cuisine. Though doused in far less wine than the international escapades of the late Keith Floyd, Rick Stein’s take on India is thoroughly delightful learning experience in the same vein. Who knows if it’s available outside the UK, but if it is you’ll learn a thing or two.

Fresh coconut and prawn curry

Fresh Coconut and Prawn Curry

Serves 4


• A little whole spice (2 cardamom pods, 2 pepper corns, a little cinnamon bark, 2 cloves)

• A generous slug of mustard oil

• 2 tsp mustard seeds, made into a paste with water in a pestle and mortar

• 2 onions, finely sliced

• 2-3 green chillies, roughly chopped

• 2 tsp freshly ground cumin

• ½ tsp turmeric

• 2 coconuts, freshly grated

• 600ml water

• 1 tsp salt

• 12-18 large or king prawns

• 2 tsp garam masala

• Fresh coriander


1. Heat the oil in a large wok (or similar), add in the whole spices to help flavour the dish. Tip in the onions followed by the mustard seed paste and cook for 5-10 minutes until verging on the golden brown.

2. Add the chillies, cumin and turmeric and cook for a little longer before adding the coconut and two thirds of the water. Cover the pan over with a plate or lid and cook for 20-30 minutes on a medium heat.

Fresh coconut and prawn curry

3. Season with the salt, add more water if necessary, scatter over the prawns and garam masala and stir thoroughly. Ensure the prawns and cooked through and scatter with fresh coriander before serving.

Fresh coconut and prawn curry

Cost: Prawns aren’t the most cost effective meat out there, but as mentioned in a previous post can be found at a thoroughly reasonable price if one searches. Fresh coconut is also a little more pricey than its desiccated counterpart – totally worth it. As such, this dish should set one back around £5.50. If you’d like to make it a little cheaper, a meaty white fish would do the trick just nicely.


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33 comments on “Fresh Coconut and Prawn Curry

  1. cookinginsens
    July 4, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Not a big fan of coconut in my curry but yours looks delicious! Love those chapatis in the background.

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      Give fresh a try if you’ve not yet!

      • cookinginsens
        July 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm

        Many of the countries we lived in had fresh coconuts growing in our gardens. Nice tree but ….

        • Admin
          July 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

          Haha – You know what you like. I’ll not try any further to convince you…

  2. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    July 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    This looks and sounds amazing! Love the idea of using fresh coconut.

  3. limeandbarley
    July 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Ohhhh this looks exactly like what I’d like for dinner! Droooool

  4. thesinglegourmetandtraveller
    July 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Great recipe. I love prawn curries and using fresh coconut sounds brilliant.

  5. Jina
    July 5, 2013 at 12:02 am

    This is beautiful! i’ve never used fresh coconut in curries before so definitely bookmarking this 🙂

  6. Daniel Boivin
    July 5, 2013 at 2:15 am

    I love curries and I make them all the time. I have never tried it with fresh coconut. I guess this will be our week-end meal! Thanks!

  7. Chica Andaluza
    July 5, 2013 at 8:22 am

    When I saw the recipe title I thought of the Rick Stein programme which I watched last night. I am sure I can get hold of fresh coconut in Andalucia – will just have ot work out how to get the coconut out!

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      Exactly – I’m loving that programme! Smash it against the floor 😀

  8. Andrew Harvard
    July 5, 2013 at 8:46 am

    very nice

  9. The Literate Chef
    July 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I love curry and this looks and sounds to be delicious. Major Gray reporting for duty.

  10. Crista
    July 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    that looks AMAZING!!!

  11. Michelle
    July 6, 2013 at 1:37 am


  12. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    July 6, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Looks awesome. Makes me want to drive to the Gulf for some shrimp. If I left now I could be in Nola by nightfall. See ya!

  13. The One-Handed Cook
    July 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    All I can say is, feel free to come round and cook for me any night!!
    Looks delish.

  14. Georgina
    July 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    This looks wonderful. It seems ridiculous that I’ve never used fresh coconut. Perhaps this is the inspiration I need…

  15. Iain
    July 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Delicious… I’ll be adding this to my list of favourites.

  16. Felisa (Fi Fi's Bakery)
    July 8, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    That looks sooooo good!! Definitely another one of your recipes for me to try. Also, your food photography is great.

  17. Francesca
    July 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    ohh looks so fancy and delicious!

  18. ambrosiana
    July 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Delicious recipe and great pics! I miss so much the fresh taste of coconut of my country Honduras. We use it a lot in our typical recipes and I love it with prawns and curry, just as you presented your dish!

    • frugalfeeding
      August 7, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks! Coconut is amazing, particularly when fresh.

  19. baconbiscuit212
    July 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    This looks fantastic, Nick! I have been a little obsessed with coconut lately and will admit to ordering this awesome coconut chicken curry from this restaurant around the corner from me too often! No more! Yours looks divine and I can’t wait to try it. Thank you!

    • frugalfeeding
      August 7, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Cheers, Daisy! Get cooking – coconut is amazing.

  20. Lamont Fleming
    July 18, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Ok, I think we used the wrong kind of coconut because ours were a bit sweeter than I would have liked, but serving it with a couple of different hot sauces helped balance it out. Would definately make again as a main course too.

  21. Jade
    July 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Fresh coconut seems like a wonderful idea in this heat. Hope you don’t mind us sharing this on our Pinterest!

  22. Karen
    August 28, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Frugal, your curry sounds absolutely delicious!

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