Sri Lankan prawn coconut curry

This Sri Lankan curry has similar spices to Indian curries, but the creaminess of a Thai curry – the best of both worlds!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main
Servings 4
Dairy Free, Diabetic, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder*
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ginger 3 centimetre piece peeled and grated or finely chopped
  • 400 g can coconut milk
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 400 g can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind purée
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 600 g prawns raw, shelled, with the tails left on (king tiger prawns are great if within budget but any raw prawns will do)

to serve

  • toasted shredded coconut
  • fresh red chilli chopped
  • steamed rice


  • Heat oil in a wok or a large heavy-based frying pan on medium heat. Cook onion for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Add garlic, mustard seeds, curry powder, turmeric, salt and ginger and continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant.
  • Stir in coconut milk, shredded coconut, tomatoes, tamarind purée, lemon juice and sugar. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes to allow sauce to reduce slightly.
  • Add prawns and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until prawns are just cooked through. Season to taste with more salt if needed but it should be about perfect.
  • Garnish with some toasted shredded coconut and chilli. Serve with rice.

Try this

  • If you can’t find tamarind purée, replace with 2 Tbsp lemon juice mixed with 2 tsp brown sugar.
  • *Check label if eating gluten free


This rich, fragrant curry sauce is great with prawns, but you could easily use chicken instead. It’s worth hunting out tamarind puree for this Sri Lankan curry. It adds the most delicious sour notes that taste amazing and balance the curry perfectly.
This curry is gluten free, dairy free, and if you use mild curry powder it’s great for kids! If you want to amp up the veggies, a side of steamed green beans would be perfect. You could even serve this on cauliflower rice if you feel like even more veggies!