Prawns Karhai (spicy curry)

Day 3 of meat-less cooking in the Sami-Siddiqui household! It’s not too bad but I know I have to go with seafood today if I don’t want to lose Mr. Mazhar to fast food altogether 🙂 We both do love seafood so when I suggested it last night, Mazhar asked me to cook prawns karhai. Karhai is a traditional Pakistani dish made usually with chicken or beef but in cities close to the coast, such as Karachi, it’s often made with prawns as well. Since the local seafood is caught and supplied in the market, fresh on a daily basis.

So we made a quick dash to our local grocery store and got ourselves a packet of jumbo prawns! They looked absolutely beautiful. We got ours peeled and deveined but if you buy some with all the works be sure to clean them out properly. This is what I made with those beautiful prawns and it was a treat for both Mazhar and I. I hope you like it too. Happy cooking everyone!  



  • 2 tbsp sunflower/ vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste (or minced)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste (or minced)
  • 500 grams prawns, deveined and peeled
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fried red onions, ground
  • 3-4 tbsp yogurt, whipped
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • a pinch of salt or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp Karhai powder (optional)
  • 1-3 green chillies, whole or chopped (as per preference)
  • 1/4 bunch coriander, chopped


  1. Add the oil in a wide saucepan and place on a medium high flame. Add in the garlic and ginger paste and let is splutter for just a second or two. Next add the prawns to the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes or till the juices released from the prawns dries out. Make sure the juices are completely dried off otherwise the gravy will have a slightly off-putting fishy smell.
  2. As soon as the prawn juice dry off, add the tomatoes and ground onions to the pan. Fry for about five minutes, you will see a gravy consistency forming. Add the yogurt and spices in at this stage and mix it well with the contents of the pan. The Karhai powder is available in most grocery stores but if you don’t have it, not to worry, just adjust the amount of red chilli powder and turmeric to a taste that suits your palate. 
  3. Cook the gravy for about three minutes and add in the green chillies and chopped coriander. Turn down the flame to low, cover the pan and let it cook for just a couple of minutes or till you see the oil separating from the gravy. This is a clear indication that dinner is ready! Enjoy!

I garnished the dish with a little bit of yogurt and dried parsley and served it with cheesy garlic toast, spring rolls and fried green peas, as shown below. You can have it with bread or boiled rice, whichever suits your fancy.

Prawns Karhai (spicy tomato based curry)



2 Comments Add yours

  1. hynasami3 says:

    I love prawns….sea food in general….great recipe…

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