Recipe – CHEMMEEN MAPPAS (prawns cooked in coconut milk gravy)

Chemmeen Mappas is the traditional dish of Kerala cuisine. It’s simple, easy and delicious. Using fresh ingredients gives a unique taste to the curry. My mum cooks it often and she prepares in many different ways. The base curry can be made with chicken and beef too.

Here, the prawns is cooked with thin extract of coconut milk and is lightly spiced; to finish up and to give a creamy texture to this subtle curry, thick coconut milk is added. Try to buy fresh prawns and do not over cook prawns as they turn rubbery and tough. Brindleberry can be replaced with tomatoes. For the heat, I have put green chillies; can be reduced as per spice tolerance and chilly powder can be added. Enjoy it with rice or appams.

Fresh prawns cooked in lightly spiced coconut milk and flavoured with brindleberry in all goodness to suit your taste-buds.

Prep time : 15 mins, Cooking time : 10 mins, Cuisine : Kerala, Serves : 4, Author : Gloria


500 gms fresh prawns

1 large sized onion (sliced)

1“ ginger (sliced/crushed)

3-4 big garlic cloves (sliced/crushed)

8 nos green chillies (slit lengthwise)

2-3 pieces of brindleberry/kudumpuli (soaked in little warm water for 10 mins)

1½ cup – 1st extract of coconut milk (thick)

½ cup – 2nd extract of coconut milk (diluted in water)

salt to taste

coconut oil

spice powders:

1 tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp black pepper powder

¼ tsp fennel powder

2 tbsp coriander powder

For tempering :

1/4 tsp mustard seeds

few curry leaves

6 nos fenugreek seeds

1-2 whole red chillies

1 dsp finely sliced onions/shallots


Gently peel shells and head of the prawns; keep the tail intact and de-vain them. Wash nicely.

Take a clay-pot or a deep bottom pan and heat oil. Add green chillies, ginger, garlic and onion. Sauté till onion turn light golden brown.

Into this, add the spice powders and sauté again constantly for few minutes on low heat till they are cooked, releasing good aroma.

Add thin extract of the coconut milk (2nd extract). Once it comes to a gentle boil, add brindleberry (kudumpuli) and salt.

Now, add the prawns and cook covered on low heat for 4-5 mins. Swirl the pot occasionally. As the gravy thickens at this stage, add the 1st extract of coconut milk (thick) and swirl again. Switch off heat.

Finally, do the tempering mentioned in ‘for tempering’ section in the same order. Add it to the curry. Close the lid and allow it to rest for sometime.

Serve it with appams or rice.


10 thoughts on “Recipe – CHEMMEEN MAPPAS (prawns cooked in coconut milk gravy)

  1. OurTraditional r forgotten by now the trend is least seeing ur ullitheeyal nd mappas is a different experience.congrats for maintaining the tradition.

    Liked by 1 person

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