Dolly Mumma's Prawn Curry, a childhood favourite

Dolly Mumma's Prawn Curry, a childhood favourite

4 minute read

The best kind of curry is prawn curry. While salmon and pomfret (or golden pompano as it is known on Kiwi shores) are my favourite kind of seafood, for curries I love using prawns. We will simply set aside those people that are in the 'red meat curry' camp for this post. 

I don't know about you, but, if you want to know whether I am enjoying what I'm eating, you simply have to see my face. I'll have my eyes closed and I'll be eating slowly relishing each bite to the fullest (also why I never share my dessert with Rushad as his way of enjoying food is to gulp it quickly down).

The family tale goes that mum first noticed me doing this when I was served a bowl of my nana, Dolly Mumma as I called her, prawn curry. Dolly Mumma was so ecstatic with my reaction, that from that moment on until the time I moved cities at the age of 11, whenever I visited her home the first dish that would be made was her signature prawn curry.

Mumma passed away a few years ago and I was distraught. I realized that I never got around to learning her curry and that I no longer had anything special of hers that I could treasure.

A few months later, when trawling through old books, my mum and me came across a tattered diary filled with scribbles of recipes and names of suppliers that offered the best produce in Bombay. In it was a page titled ‘Curry Recipe for  Perzu', as she called me. We set aside the other mess and immediately headed to the kitchen to try out the recipe.

The curry came out just as I remembered Mamaiji making it. In that minute, I was transported back to my childhood – me licking my fingers clean, the smell of curry leaves faintly lingering in the air while she smiled proudly at me.

Note: This curry is a Mumbai style curry and won't come out creamy because there's no coconut milk in it. You're welcome to replace some of the water with coconut milk. The recipe below is my Mumma's version and I love it just the way it is.


  • 275gm Coastal Curry Paste
  • 500gm fresh or frozen prawns (preferably with tails on)
  • Salt to taste
  • 400ml water
  • 2 potatoes
  • Optional: 2 stalks curry leaves


  • In a saucepan, tip in the entire jar of Dolly Mumma Coastal Curry paste.
  • Add in the water and mix well until the paste has loosened. If you would like your curry to be thinner, add in more water and if you'd like your curry to be thicker allow the water to evaporate as the curry cooks.
  • Cut the potatoes into cubes and add them into the curry. If you're using curry leaves, add them in now.
  • Cover the saucepan and allow the curry to simmer for about ten minutes until the potatoes are nearly cooked.
  • While the curry is cooking, marinate your prawns in salt and set them aside.
  • When the potatoes are cooked, add in the prawns and stir everything once again. Cover and allow to simmer for a further seven - eight minutes until the prawns are cooked.
  • Adjust the seasoning if required.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice with a squeeze of lemon and a red onion salad on the side.


  • For a vegetarian curry, replace the seafood with frozen vegetables, tofu and/or paneer cubes. You will need to add the vegetables when you add the potatoes.
  • For chicken, I recommend using cubes of boneless chicken thighs. These will need to be added when you add in the potatoes. If you are using boned chicken and the cooking time is longer then you will need to add more water. The curry can later be thickened by simmering without the saucepan lid.

Coastal Curry

Coastal Curry


When my grandmother, Dolly Mumma, asked me what I wanted to inherit, I asked for a never-ending pot of her curry. Instead, she gave me her curry paste recipe to make, and share her curry for years to come. Zingy,… read more

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