Okay I give up, I've tried and failed about 8 times now frying prawns but they never are succulent. The recipe that I want to get done is pretty simple:

  1. De-vein. Salt the prawn for some time and allow it to marinate.
  2. Wash them. Fry them in some oil till they turn pink.
  3. Add onion, chillies, ginger, garlic. Some turmeric. Some tomatoes.

The cuisine is Goan if it's of any help.

This is exactly what mum does and somehow it turn out great. The only things different that I'm doing are:

  • The original recipe uses coconut oil, I'm using sunflower
  • I'm using frozen prawns because i cant get hold of fresh prawns.

I don't think any of this should affect the dish. Anyway, what always happens is that the prawns are either too chewy or too dry (opposite of juicy).

What am I doing wrong here? How do I know if the prawns are just cooked right? Should I be using low or high heat?

Any other tips for getting really juicy fried prawns?

  • 1
    I've had similar problems with frying prawns. Try roasting them instead, in the "Kerala prawn roast" style. The important part of the recipe is to use "kodampuli" and an earthen pot, since the kodampuli reacts with the pot to produce a unique flavour. kothiyavunu.com/2009/07/spicy-prawns-fry.html
    – Nav
    Sep 28, 2017 at 7:05

2 Answers 2


I agree with hobodave that you're overcooking the prawns. But, I would cook the veggies first and then let the prawns cook with them for the last 2 minutes of the veggie cooking time.

One other thing I would suggest is to cut out the salting/marinade stage. The salt could be "cooking" the prawns and is most likely sucking some moisture out.

You could also try reducing the amount of oil you're using, 1 tbs in a pan should be sufficient.

  • yes it depends on the veggies, in this case the onions dont require a lot of frying else they turn nasty brown. I wash the prawns before using it so that there is only a hint of saltiness for that seafood flavour, maybe youre right it did help. moisture is crucial. I switched to butter, this dish needs more oil 1tbs isnt enough D:. I'll accept your answer.
    – Gabe
    Dec 16, 2010 at 16:14
  • 2
    I suggested cooking the shrimp first so that the shrimp flavor is infused in the oil. The oil then imparts this flavor to the veggies more-so than simply adding them in the pan for the last two minutes.
    – hobodave
    Dec 27, 2010 at 22:36

You are overcooking them. When the shrimp turn pink at the end of your second step, they are done. When you add your remaining ingredients and continue to cook them, you are overcooking the shrimp.

I'd suggest cooking the shrimp until they are pink, then setting them aside. Cook your remaining ingredients in the pan until done, and then toss with the shrimp and serve.

Regarding the oil, it shouldn't make a difference that you are using sunflower oil. Regarding the frozen prawns, unless your mom was purchasing them direct from an oceanside market, she was likely buying once-frozen prawns too. Most prawns found in supermarkets are flash frozen at the source, and are only thawed and put on ice at the supermarket.

  • Yes this is exactly what ive been told, and i havent tried it out yet i'll let you know, im just trying to get the sweet spot, what i want is a creamy texture and a juicy prawn, till now the results are satisfactory, thanks man , and yes mum stays by the sea and the local fish market does not freeze, they just throw in a couple of blocks of ice to keep it cold.
    – Gabe
    Dec 5, 2010 at 10:09

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