Prawn Patia (Indian Sweet and Spicy Shrimp) Recipe

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Prasanna Sankhe

The first time I bit into some Prawn Patia, my tastebuds went into quite a tizzy. It's one of those dishes that combines every flavor you normally have separately into one. There's sweet, spicy, tangy and hot notes that work wonderfully with each other. It's like they all agreed to get along just in the interest of the prawns.

There's also a vegetarian version of this dish which uses baby black aubergines instead of prawns, and it's equally delicious.

Prawn Patia is usually served as a side dish. And the way it's traditionally eaten is quite unique. A bed of fluffy white rice is covered generously with yellow lentils. Over this white and yellow base, scarlet spoonfuls of Prawn Patia are ladled on and mixed together in every morsel. Eating it this way adds a new dimension of texture and subtlety to the dish. But I've also found that it's equally delicious on its own, with just a little bit of white bread for company.

Note: Ginger-garlic paste can be bought in a jar in most Indian markets. Alternatively, combine equal parts ginger and garlic grated on a microplane grater.

Recipe Details

Prawn Patia (Indian Sweet and Spicy Shrimp) Recipe

Active 10 mins
Total 25 mins
Serves 2 servings


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 10 curry leaves

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 small green chiles (such as Thai bird) chopped fine

  • 1/2 cup tomato purée

  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (see notes)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red chile powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar or grated jaggery

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar (preferably palm vinegar)

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 cup medium shelled, deveined shrimp

  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Gently put in the curry leaves and step aside as they pop. Stir for 20 seconds. Add the chopped onions and stir until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the green chillies and stir for another minute. Add the tomato puree and keep stirring until oil separates from the onion tomato mix, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic past, red chilli, turmeric, and cumin, and keep stirring until mixture is fragrant, about 5 minutes, taking care to ensure the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom.

  2. Add the sugar/grated jaggery, vinegar, and water and cook till the rawness of the tomato is gone, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Add the shrmp, stir and let cook for one minute. Remove from heat. Allow to continue cooking off heat, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are cooked through, about 4 minutes longer. Garnish with coriander and serve with white rice and daal.

Special equipment

Heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
216 Calories
17g Fat
15g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 704mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 12mg 60%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 475mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)