This Easy Prawn Curry with Coconut Milk will be your new go-to curry-in-a-hurry. Whip it up in just 20 minutes and enjoy succulent curried prawns/shrimp in a creamy coconut curry sauce. Light, yet oh so tasty, with warming curry flavour, slightly sweet and creamy coconut milk with green chilli, fresh ginger and lime adding tangy hints of freshness.
Prawns/shrimp are juicy, easy to cook and super versatile. For more quick and easy prawn recipes that are sure to impress, try my Squid Ink Spaghetti and Spicy Prawn Harissa Pasta. Or if you're after more quick and delicious curry recipes, try my Easy Roast Butternut Squash Curry, Prawn Thai Green Curry or Peanut Satay Curry.
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
5 Reasons why you'll love this recipe
- So quick and easy. Ready in just 20 minutes.
- Light yet so flavourful.
- Uses everyday ingredients that you'll easily find in your local supermarket/store.
- Adaptable. Switch up the veggies or use a different type of seafood. There are lots of variations to try.
- Make ahead and freezer friendly.
King Prawns/shrimp - I find raw king prwans/shrimp are fresher and more succulent than pre-cooked prawns/shrimp. However, pre-cooked prawns/shrimp are very convenient so feel free to use them. If you are using frozen king prawns make sure they are fully defrosted first. Leaving them in the fridge overnight is the best way to do this.
Veggies - Green peppers and spinach are quick to cook and absorb the flavour of the sauce well. I try and use pre-washed spinach where possible to avoid adding extra moisture to the curry sauce. If you buy unwashed spinach make sure you dry it thoroughly with kitchen paper before adding it to the dish.
Coconut milk - you can use full fat or light. The lower-fat varieties will give you a thinner sauce, but will still work well.
Green chilli - adds tanginess and light heat. I consider this curry to be mild, but you might decide to omit the chilli if you are very sensitive to spice.
Substitutions & variations:
Note that the recipe has not been tested with the below substitutions and variations, so the results cannot be guaranteed.
- Prawns/shrimp: you can switch these for another type of fish or seafood like scallops, cod or monkfish. Avoid stronger-tasting fish like salmon and mackerel which will overpower the delicate flavours in the sauce.
- Coconut milk: in some recipes coconut milk can be swapped for heavy cream, but this is not recommended in South East Asian style curries like this one where the delicate sweetness of coconut milk is a key part of the overall flavour profile.
- Veggies: Other green veggies that will work well include courgette/zucchini, beans or broccoli.
- Lime: lemon juice will also add citrusy freshness to the sauce.
How to prepare raw king prawns:
If you are using raw king prawns/shrimp make sure you butterfly and devein them first. This increases their surface area and makes them better at absorbing the yummy coconut sauce and also gets rid of the undesirable intestinal tract.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Step 1: Place a frying pan on a medium to high heat, add oil and add the green chilli, ginger and green pepper and fry until the pepper is tender. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute until fragrant.
Step 2: Stir in the turmeric and curry powder, pour on the coconut milk and add the honey and stock powder.
Bring the sauce to simmer and add the spinach. Cover the pan with a lid if you have one and cook for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted. Then add the king prawns and simmer for a few more minutes until they are opaque.
Add the lime juice and zest and serve immediately with fresh coriander.
🍽️ Serving suggestions
- Jasmine Rice has a slightly nutty and floral taste that complements the other ingredients in the dish. However, other types of rice like basmati, sushi rice or brown rice will also work well. Microwaveable packet rice is great if you are short on time.
- Noodles: a light type of noodle like rice noodles will go nicely.
- Quinoa: for a healthy alternative to rice and noodles
- Flatbread or Naan bread
- Butterfly and devein the prawns - this increases their surface area and allows them to absorb as much of the yummy sauce as possible. To do this run a sharp knife along the back of each prawn and open the sides out and remove the intestinal tract.
- Avoid wet spinach - wet spinach will add additional water to the sauce and dilute its flavour. I try to use pre-washed spinach for this dish. If you use unwashed spinach make sure you dry it thoroughly with kitchen paper before adding it to the curry.
- Set a timer for the rice - you can cook the rice while you prepare the rest of the dish. The time taken to make the rice should coincide with the time taken to make the curry. However, cooking times can vary depending on the rice you use, so it's best to set a timer to make sure the rice does not overcook.
The curry sauce is delicate and mild, but if you are very sensitive to spice you may want to reduce the amount of green chilli or omit it altogether.
You can store the cooked curry in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheated prawns will lose their juiciness and may taste a little rubbery, so it's best to store the sauce and cook the prawns fresh if you are planning to make ahead.
You can freeze it for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing without the prawns/shrimp because reheated cooked prawns/shrimp taste nowhere near as good as fresh ones.
There are several reasons why coconut milk is added to curries. Coconut milk adds creaminess, sweetness and gives curries a subtle tropical taste. It also balances the bold flavours of curry spices and seasoning and thickens the sauce.
Coconut milk can be swapped for heavy cream in some Indian-style curries. However, I would not recommend it in South East Asian style curries where the delicate creamy sweetness of coconut milk is an important part of the overall flavour of the dish.
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Easy Prawn Curry With Coconut Milk
- 1 large frying pan
- 2 tbsp neutral oil (Note 1)
- 4 green chillies finely chopped (Note 2)
- 8 g (4 tsp) fresh ginger grated
- 2 green peppers chopped into 2cm/1 inch pieces (Note 3)
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp curry powder (Note 4)
- 400 ml (14 oz) coconut milk (Note 5)
- 4 tsp honey (Note 6)
- 1 tsp chicken stock powder or salt to taste (Note 7)
- 160 g (6 oz) spinach (Note 8)
- 300 g (11 oz) raw or pre-cooked king prawns/shrimp butterflied and deveined if using raw king prawns (Note 9)
- 1 lime juice and zest (Note 10)
- 1 large handful fresh coriander roughly chopped
- Place a frying pan on a medium to high heat and pour in the oil. Add the chilies, ginger and green pepper and fry for a few minutes until the green pepper is tender.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add the turmeric and curry powder.
- Pour on the coconut milk, add the honey and chicken stock powder (or salt) and bring to simmer.
- Add the spinach and place a lid on the pan if you have one. Cook for a few minutes on a medium heat until the spinach starts to wilt.
- Add prawns/shrimp and continue to cook on a medium heat for a few more minutes until they are opaque.
- Stir in the lime zest and juice and serve immediately with rice and fresh coriander.
- Oil: use a neutral oil like vegetable oil, canola, sunflower oil or groundnut.
- Green chillies: add very mild heat to the dish. Substitute with red chillies, a little chilli powder to taste or omit if you are very sensitive to spice.
- Green peppers: swap for other green veggies like courgette/zucchini, broccoli or beans if you prefer.
- Curry powder: use mild or medium. Hot curry powder may overpower the delicate flavours in the dish.
- Coconut milk: full fat or light are both fine.
- Honey: substitute for sugar to taste.
- Chicken stock powder: substitute for salt to taste.
- Spinach: pre-washed is recommended. If you need to wash the spinach ensure you dry it first, so it doesn't add additional moisture to the sauce.
- Prawns: can be raw or precooked.
- Lime: lemon can also be used to add citrusy freshness.