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prawn thokku

Spicy Prawn Thokku

Recipe for Tamil style spicy prawn thokku / eral masala thokku . Recipe for prawn thokku with step by step pictures and video.

  • Total Time: 40m
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x



For marinating the prawns

250 grams prawns
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Prawn Thokku

2 tablespoon Indian sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
2 cups onions, finely chopped
2 cups tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
2 green chillies, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
2 tablespoon kuzhambu milagai thool (or) sambar powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoon thick coconut milk
2 sprigs coriander leaves, chopped


Wash, clean and devein the prawns. Add it to a bowl. Marinate the prawns with turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan. Indian style sesame oil is preferred for this recipe. When the oil is hot, add in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds crackle. Add in the finely chopped onions. Use a lot of onions to get a good thick gravy. Sauté the onions till the onions are soft.

Add in the finely chopped tomatoes. Use equal quantity of tomatoes and onions for this recipe. Add in the ginger garlic paste and the roughly chopped green chillies. Cook for a minute.  Add in the salt and the spice powders. Mix well to combine.  Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 5-8 minutes until the tomatoes are mushy. It can take a little longer depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes. Add in quarter cup of water to dilute the gravy so it does not scorch at the bottom of the pan. Mix well to combine. Cook for a minute. Check for seasoning of the prawn thokku at this stage and adjust seasoning if need be.

Add in the marinated prawns to the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook the thokku for five minutes. Finally add in the coconut milk and cook for a minute. Finish it off with a sprinkle of coriander leaves. Fantastic prawn thokku / eral thokku is ready. Serve with hot rice.


For the ginger garlic paste, use about 6-8 cloves garlic and 1/4 inch piece of ginger. You can crush them in a mortar and pestle with some water and use it in the recipe.

This recipe uses Kuzhambu milagai thool. “Kuzhambu milagai thool” is a curry powder used in Tamil households and can be sourced from a south Indian grocery store. If you dont have “kuzhambu milagai thool”, use store bought curry powder.


  • Author: Suguna Vinodh
  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 20m

Keywords: prawn thokku