Prawns Theeyal / Kerala style Chemmeen Theeyal

Theeyal is yet another famous delicacy in Kerala cuisine, it’s basically roasted coconut gravy with different kinds of veggies. Today I am preparing with a mixture of prawns/Chemmeen, shallots and roasted desiccated coconut, which is simply delicious. Chemmeen theeyal pairs well with plain rice, dosa, appam and pathiri.

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Prawns Theeyal/ Kerala Style Chemmeen Theeyal

Prep time                :   20 minutes
Cooking time         :   20 minutes
Total time               :   40 minutes

Servings    : 3 – 4

Category   : Main course
Cuisine      : South Indian, Kerala


1 Cup prawns or chemmeen (cleaned)
1 Cup shallots
1 Inch ginger
5-6 Garlic cloves
3-4 Green chilies
Tamarind pulp /Vaalan puli – Lemon size
Pinch of asafoetida
Pinch of fennel powder
1/2 Teaspoon fenugreek seeds
Curry Leaves: 1 sprig
1 Tablespoon Coconut oil
1 Cup water
Salt to taste

For roasting and grinding:

Grated Coconut: 1 cup
1/4 Teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Tablespoon coriander powder
1 Teaspoon red chili powder
1 Tablespoon coconut oil for roasting


  • Clean, devein and wash the prawns.
  • Coarsely crush ginger and garlic.
  • Thinly slice shallots and green chilies.
  • In a heavy bottom skillet, add coconut oil, grated coconut along with all spice powders one by one and dry roast it till the raw smell goes and dark in color.
  • Let this mixture cool and then grind it to a fine paste using 1 tablespoon of water.


  • Heat oil in a mud pot and add fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, crushed ginger-garlic, shallots, green chilies and salt. Sauté until transparent.
  • To this add the roasted ground paste and mix well.
  • Add tamarind extract into it and allow it to boil for 4-5 minutes by stirring occasionally.
  • Now, add in the prawns and 1 cup of water. Cook with the lid on for at least 10 minutes or till the gravy thickens to a curry consistency.
  • At the end add in the fennel powder and mix well. Allow it to simmer again for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove from the fire and cover it, allow it to stand for 10-20 minutes before serving.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice, dosa and appam.



  • Take care not to burn the spices while roasting.



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