This scrumptious recipe will easily creep its way into your top favourite seafood dishes. One of God’s own country’s most savoured and delectable foods, Prawn pollichathu is cooked in a plantain leaf, with layers of spices of herbs. In Kerala, this delicacy is also locally called Chemmeen pollichathu.

Let us look at how to cook this amazingly flavourful dish, in a few simple steps.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves 4 people.



  • 6 tablespoon sesame oil

  • Prawns – 500 grams

  • Coconut milk

  • Vinegar

  • Garlic cloves

  • Shallots

  • Tomatoes

  • Green chillies

  • Ginger garlic paste

  • Curry leaves

  • Red chilli powder

  • Turmeric

  • Fennel seed powder

  • Black pepper powder

  • Banana leaves – ½ or one

Step 1

The first step is to marinate the prawns. The longer you marinate them, the better they will soak up the flavours from the spices, but a minimum of 30 minutes is mandatory. 

      For marination, you will need ½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp fennel seed powder, ½ tsp black  pepper powder, 1 tsp chilli powder and 3-4 garlic cloves made into a paste. In a bowl, mix all these spices and add the prawns in and toss around really well with your hands. Seal the bowl and leave it aside. 


Step 2

For the masala, grind 1 ½ tbsp ginger garlic paste (you can use store-bought or make it at home with 2 pieces of ginger and 7-8 garlic cloves) 2 green chillies in a blender and keep it aside.

Step 3

Before we make the rest of the masala, we will first fry the well-marinated prawns and keep them aside. In a pan, heat some oil and toss in the prawns. Cook them on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Prawns have very little cooking time and overcooking will make them hard and rubbery. Drain the prawns of oil, and keep them aside.

Step 4

To make the rest of the masala, in the same pan, heat some more oil. Toss in 2 cups of shallots that are chopped well, along with 2 sprigs of curry leaves. Saute the shallots and curry leaves until the shallots are golden brown.

Step 5

To this, add in the ground paste of ginger, garlic, and chillies. Saute this mix really well until the raw smell of ginger goes away.

Step 6

.      Into this, add in all the spices. Use 1 tsp chilli powder, ¼ tsp fennel seed powder, ½ tsp turmeric powder and ¼ tsp black pepper powder. Saute this for a minute.

Step 7

Add in 2 finely chopped tomatoes and cook until they become mushy. You will know the tomatoes are done when the oil begins to separate. You can add salt now and check for taste.

Step 8

.      Pour in about 3 tbsp thick coconut milk and mix thoroughly. Let the masala drink all the coconut water. To this, add a teaspoon of vinegar to bring out all the flavours and mix really well. At this point, your masala is done. You may remove it from heat.

Step 9

To assemble the dish together, wipe the plantain leaves clean and dry. Hold the plantain leaf over a low flame to wilt the entire leaf well. Then, brush the centre of the leaf with some oil (preferably coconut).

Step 10

Add a layer of the masala on the leaf first, and layer this with the prawns. Top it off with another layer of the masala. Make as many layers of this as you would like.

Step 11

Fold in the plantain leaf and secure the wrap with a string.

Step 12

In a pan, brush in a little oil, and place the wrapped parcel on top. Cook on low flame for 5 minutes, flip the parcel and cook for another 5.