Prawn Curry With Panch Phoran and Pilau Rice

Today, I would like to share with you my recipe for prawn curry with panch phoran spices. Panch phoran translates to “five spices” and is a spice blend from Bengal. The blend is often used in curries, as a rub on meats or sprinkled over vegetables, and has a distinguished taste from garam masala, which is more commonly used in North Indian cooking. The five spices are either dry roasted or tempered (that is fried in ghee or hot oil until the mustard seeds begin popping) depending on how the blend is used. However, for this particular recipe, I dry roasted the spices and then ground them in a coffee grinder until they became a powder. It may not be the traditional way of cooking with panch phoran but it certainly was tasty. I hope you enjoy the curry too.

Prawn Curry With Panch Phoran and Pilau Rice

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 2

Prawn Curry With Panch Phoran and Pilau Rice


    For Prawn Curry With Panch Phoran
  • 240 grams raw tiger prawns
  • 2-4 large raw tiger prawns with shell on
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, blanched and pureed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tablespoon Barts Panch Phoran spice blend, or make your blend using the recipe below**
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon desiccated coconut, add more if you want
  • salt to taste
  • vegetable oil, enough for frying
  • coriander leaves and limes for garnishing
    For Pilau Rice
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Barts Pilau spice blend
  • salt to taste


    For Prawn Curry With Panch Phoran
  1. Dry roast the panch phoran spices in a frying pan and then grind to a fine powder. Be careful not to burn the spices. Set aside.
  2. Add oil to a large deep-bottomed frying pan and place on high heat.
  3. When the oil has heated, add the onions and fry for a couple of minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further minute or two, until the raw garlic smell dissipates.
  4. Add the panch shoran spices and allow to infuse with the onions, garlic and ginger.
  5. Add the tomatoes and puree to the onion mixture and keep stirring until fully combined and you begin to see the oil seeping out of the masala - will probably take around five minutes.
  6. Add the turmeric, salt and desiccated coconut and mix well.
  7. Now you can add the prawns - if you feel the masala is beginning to dry out, you can add some boiling water to prevent the sauce from burning. Ensure the sauce fully coats the prawns, reduce heat ad cover with a lid. Simmer until the prawns have fully cooked. You will notice they will change colour from grey to bright orange / pink.
  8. Serve on pilau rice and garnish with coriander and a sprinkling of lime juice.
    For Pilau Rice
  1. Wash the rice until the water runs clear.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir well.
  3. When the water starts to boil, place the saucepan lid firmly on and reduce the heat. Allow to simmer for ten minutes, or until the rice has cooked and the water has evaporated.


You can make your own Panch Phoran spice blend using equal parts of the following spices: fenugreek seeds (methi), nigella seeds (kalonji), cumin seeds (jeera), black mustard seeds (rai / sarson) and fennel seeds (saunf). Combine all the spices and store in an airtight container.

I have been having a lot of fun in the kitchen, experimenting with the different spice blends sent to me by Barts. Dishes include piri-piri popcorn as a snack at parties, tandoori roasted poussins with harissa spiced sweet potato wedges and stir-fried lamb with shichimi togarashi. I will post these recipes soon but in the meantime, please check out my recipe for Indonesian Style Noodles with Crispy Tofu, which uses Indonesian Goreng seasoning.

Disclaimer: I have been sent a selection of spices from Barts but have not been obliged to write a review. All the opinions on this post are my own.

I am linking this recipe to this month’s Cooking With Herbs, hosted by Karen from Lavendar and Lovage.

Prawn Curry With Panch Phoran and Pilau Rice-2

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  • Posted May 13, 2014

    Eat Your Veg

    Panch phoran is a lovely spice blend isn’t it, I used it quite a bit last year in various veggie curries. But your prawn curry sounds magnificent, it’s well and truly pinned for future reference!

  • Posted May 13, 2014


    Prawns are my favourite.. must try this recipe with panch phoran.

  • Posted May 13, 2014


    This sounds wonderful Tina, love the combination of spices. I bet this is delicious!

  • Posted May 13, 2014

    Madeleine Morrow

    I adore anything with prawns and these look particularly delicious. I haven’t heard of this spice mix so must try it out

  • Posted May 13, 2014


    I still have some prawns left after today’s lunch! Lovely recipe Tina, Bart blends are truly amazing 😉

  • Posted May 13, 2014

    I’ve never come across this spice mix either – nor the barts pilau rice mix! all sounds rather good

  • Posted May 13, 2014

    Nayna Kanabar (@citrusspiceuk)

    Beautiful pictures and such a lovely recipe.

  • Posted May 14, 2014

    Karen Burns Booth

    I adore Panch phoran spice, and I also have a tin that Barts Spices sent me too Tina! LOVELY recipe with super photos as always! Karen

  • Posted May 14, 2014

    Food Ren (@RenBehan)

    Great combination of delicate herbs and spices, I love prawn curries, and also like adding fresh spinach. I’ll definitely try your recipe next time.

  • Posted May 14, 2014

    Mina Joshi

    What a lovely presentation. I am sure the panch phoran spices could be used to make a fantastic veggie dish too.

  • Posted May 14, 2014

    kitchen queen

    Wow the whole platter looks tempting.

  • Posted May 15, 2014


    I have been wondering what to do with this spice blend (I got the Bart’s version too). So like your idea. Lovely pics as usual too.

  • Posted May 15, 2014


    Those prawns look delish!

    thank you so much for linking up with #fridayfoodie

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