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Spicy Seafood Curry with Coconut

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This Keralan style seafood curry is one you’ve got to try!

Lately I have been revisiting old recipes on my blog and making them again. I’ve learned a lot over the years and this seafood curry definitely needed updating!

Here you are going to get what is pretty much the original seafood curry recipe but modified for improved flavour.

I can honestly say that I will be making this seafood curry much more often! It was a real hit.


Seafood curry

This tasty seafood curry is so good! It’s even better served with a cold Hemisphere Session IPA from Fourpure Brewing Company!



How was this seafood curry improved?

Back when the recipe was originally published, I didn’t understand the importance of when different ingredients should be added.

That’s just something I picked up through experimentation and of course my travels to India.

I have learned so much from amazing chefs there and here in the UK. 

Working ahead…

Go ahead and prepare your chopped vegetables a few hours before cooking.

You can even make the sauce up to the stage when the clams are added. I prefer to add them to cook just before serving but the base masala can be cooked ahead of time. 

You can also flash fry the prawns and scallops. Store the par-cooked prawns and scallops in the fridge and then just add them to heat through at the end of cooking. 

Alternative Ingredients…

I love this seafood curry just as it is. That said, you could use whatever seafood you prefer.

You could substitute mussels for the clams for example. Try adding chunks of halibut… If it sounds good it probably will be.

Just be careful when cooking fish. If you cook it too long, it has a tendency to fall apart. I add it at the end and serve immediately when cooked through. 

Kokum is a popular souring agent used a lot in south Indian seafood curries. You can find it at Asian shops and also online. If you are unable to get kokum, you could add tamarind concentrate to taste or even some lemon juice.

Do try to get the kokum though. I think it really makes this dish!

A few words about spice…

I love a good spicy curry! That said, I know spicy curries aren’t to everyone’s liking.

In this seafood curry I used both fresh green chillies and chilli powder. 

Feel free to reduce the amount called for or even omit them completely.

If you like cooking with step by step photos, no worries! I have you covered. 

infusing whole spices

Heat the oil and infuse the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds for about 30 seconds.


adding onions and curry leaves

Stir in the chopped onion, chillies and curry leaves.


stirring in garlic and ginger paste

Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and sizzle for about 30 seconds.


add the chopped tomatoes and kokum with soaking water

Add the chopped tomatoes and kokum with soaking water and bring to a simmer.


Adding the clams

Add the clams to the simmering stock and cover. The clams should open in a few minutes.


Here I would like to mention that I prefer to cook the prawns and scallops separately. 

Many chefs just throw them into the bubbling stock which works. Prawns and scallops can get a bit tough if overcooked though so cooking the separately ensures that doesn’t happen. 

You do want your seafood curry to be the best it can be after all. 

frying prawns

Fry the prawns until about 90% cooked through and transfer to a plate.


frying scallops

Do the same with the scallops.

Just before serving, stir the prawns and scallops into the sauce and then add the coconut milk.


simmering the finished seafood curry

Bring the sauce to a simmer and serve.

Seafood curry from Kerala

All done!

This seafood curry is perfect paired with an India Pale Ale by The Fourpure Brewing Company!

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Keralan seafood stew

Dig in!


If you like this seafood curry recipe, you might like to try some of these recipes too…


Malabar fish curry
Prawn curry
Tandoori prawns
Prawn puri
Thai grilled fish

Yield: 4

Seafood Curry - Keralan Style

Seafood curry from Kerala
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed (canola) or coconut oil
  • 20 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 red onion - finely chopped
  • 3 - 4 green bird's eye chillies - finely chopped
  • 225g (1/2 lb.) chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 3 dried kokum berries - soaked in 500ml (2 cups) hot water for 15 minutes
  • 40 small clams or mussels
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 8 large scallops - cut horizontally through the center
  • 12 prawns - peeled in deveined
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan.
  2. When hot, throw in the the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, stir in the curry leaves.
  3. Fry the curry leaves for about 30 seconds and then add the chopped onion and chillies. Fry for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and the kokum with the soaking water and bring to a simmer.
  5. Stir in the clams and simmer until they have all opened. Covering the pan will speed this process up. Be sure to discard any clams that don't open before serving.
  6. While the clams are simmering, you can flash fry the scallops and prawns. This can also be done ahead of time as mentioned above. Fry the prawns until they are pink and just cooked through. Then fry the scallops for about 40 seconds per side. Do not overcook or your prawns and scallops will become tough.
  7. Stir in the chilli powder and turmeric and then add the par-cooked prawns and scallops.
  8. Add the coconut milk and bring to a rolling simmer.
  9. To finish, garnish with the chopped coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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