Jhinga Nisha: Southern Indian Prawn Curry

About 2 years ago we went on a mini break to Kerala (to escape the noise of Diwali) with the Domestic King.  We stayed at the Kumarakom Lake Resort, and whilst lovely, it definitely wasn’t worth the price we paid….However, one thing that was definitely worth it, was the food.  The Domestic Prince and King (both lovers of Indian food) had an amazing dish called Jhinga Nisha, which is basically a prawn curry.  The preparation for this dish might be a bit laborious, but it is so worth the effort to produce a traditional, authentic southern Indian curry.  And as some of you might guessed, this isn’t called Jhinga Nisha in our household….oh no!  The Domestic Prince and his friend, Andy, have renamed this “Ginger Knickers”!  What else can I say, apart from enjoy!!

Serves: 4


  • 50g unblanched almonds
  • 50g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1kg large raw prawns, shelled
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 3tbsp milk, warmed
  • 8 green cardamom
  • 4tbsp ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 20g fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 6 to 8tbsp of cold water
  • 75ml single cream


  1. Boil two saucepans of water and pop the almonds in one and cashew nuts in the other and boil for around 20 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, drain and let cool slightly.
  3. When cooled, slip the almonds out of their skins and whizz them in the food processor, together with the cashew nuts, until they’ve formed a paste.
  4. Wash and dry the prawns.
  5. Sprinkle the saffron into the warm milk and put to one side to infuse.
  6. Remove the tiny black cardamom seeds from the pods and grind to a fine powder.  Pop to one side.
  7. Heat the ghee in a pan over a medium heat.
  8. Add the onions to the hot ghee and sauté until golden.
  9. Add the chillies and ginger and sauté for around 1 – 2 minutes, constantly stirring.
  10. Next, add in the almond and cashew nut paste, stirring continually for approximately 2 minutes.
  11. Pop the prawns in the pan and add 2 tablespoons of the cold water.
  12. Keep stirring, and add another 2 tablespoons of cold water.
  13. Keep adding the cold water until the sauce has a nice thick consistency (this will be around 6 to 8 tablespoons).
  14. Pour the saffron infused milk into the pan.
  15. Have a quick taste and add any seasoning.
  16. Simmer for a minute or so until the prawns are cooked.
  17. Add the cream and combine with the rest of the dish.
  18. Just before serving, sprinkle the cardamom powder over the curry.
  19. Serve with rice.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Single cream can be swapped for coconut milk or cream.
  2. If you’re watching your carb intake, grate some cauliflower, pop into boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, drain and serve.
  3. If you’re allergic to shellfish, substitute the prawns for chicken.
  4. If you want to make it a milder curry, scrape out the seeds when preparing the chilies.
  5. If you can’t get hold of any ghee, then just use a flavourless oil.

Please let me know if you make it and what you think.

With much love
The Domestic Princess



  1. This is a real gem because I can vouch that the recipe was provided by the chef at Kumarakom. Genuine Indian cuisine in South Wales is rare, I can’t speak for other parts of the UK, so here’s an opportunity to experience not only authentic Indian cuisine in the comfort of your own home, but authentic regional Indian cuisine, i.e South Indian.

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