A Prawns Koliwada recipe that recreates the authentic taste of Mumbai Koliwada region. This Indian style crispy fried prawns appetizer takes only 20-30 minutes to cook, and makes for a delicious & easy starter for parties or weekend indulgences. Sprinkle on some chaat masala, and pair it with green chutney or schezwan dip.
Prawns Koliwada is one of the more iconic dishes of Mumbai, even though it’s not that well known outside the city or state, and definitely not outside the country. Atleast here in US, I have not seen one restaurant serve it.
So for a long time, I could only eat it when I travelled back home to Mumbai. Until I learnt to make it at home that is.
And once I did, I felt really stupid for not trying it ages ago, because it’s super simple, easy and quick to make. So if you are a koliwada fan like me, this is one recipe you must try to make at home! And even if you had never heard of this dish before now, try this one, and you might find a new favorite!
Oh and much like the Restaurant Style Chicken Lollipop recipe I shared earlier, I have tried to get super close to the authentic Koliwada taste & texture with this one – maintaining the delicate balance of juicy prawn and crispy exterior. So fingers crossed, you guys will love it as much as we do!
What is Prawns Koliwada?
Prawns Koliwada is a crispy fried prawn appetizer, that is moderately spiced, lightly tangy, with the pungent flavor of ajwain, and has a crispy coating which is in direct contrast to the juicy inside.
History / Origin Story
This dish was named after the place where it originated, that is in Koliwada, Mumbai. It’s a small fisherman’s colony near Sion. And it was first created by a north Indian chef soon after Indo-Pak partition, when he moved to Maharashtra from the Punjab / Sindh region, which is now a part of Pakistan.
Though I have to say that this dish doesn’t have a strong Punjabi flavor, nor a native Maharashtrian one. It has its own distinct taste, which has made it wildly popular.
Of-course a lot of variations have come since then. But I personally love it the most in its original avatar, so that’s what I have tried to recreate here on the blog.
Ingredients You Need
2 Step marination – This recipe calls for 2 different marinades, which I recommend you definitely follow, as one is for flavoring, and the other (second one) is mostly for creating the crust coating.
Though the second marinade also has kashmiri chilli powder, which is mostly for color over spice, and ajwain for that distinctive flavor.
Containing the liquids – It’s very important to contain the liquids in this marination, so use thick yogurt, and not the watery kind.
As you’ll see in the recipe, I also strain out the excess liquid from the first marinade to control the total amount of liquid.
Adjustment of salt – I have used only 1/4th teaspoon of salt for this entire recipe, which might feel less, but in this recipe less is more.
Partly because ginger garlic paste also has some salt, and we need to keep room for sprinkling chaat masala before serving, and that has salt too.
How To Make Prawns Koliwada
In a bowl, mix together salt, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste & lemon juice, and add the prawns to it, and mix everything well.
Let the prawns marinate in the spice mix for 15-20 minutes at room temperature.
Once the time is up, ensure to drain off all excess liquid from this marinade. Do not skip this step of straining away all the excess liquid, else the second marinade will become a thinner batter, which is not what we want, for that authentic texture.
In another bowl, mix together corn flour, maida, yogurt, kashmiri chilli powder, salt, ajwain seeds, and oil, and add in the prawns to this mix, after draining the excess liquid from the earlier marinade.
There will still be a little moisture from the first marinade, which is okay. The goal is to get a thick paste like marinade, that you will need to ensure to spread over the prawns right before frying them to ensure the prawns are coated somewhat evenly.
Deep Frying Prawns
In a frying pan, heat up the oil, and fry the prawns, a few at a time, so as to not overcrowd the pan, and fry each batch for about 3-5 minutes, till the prawns turn golden brown & crispy.
Prawns Koliwada tastes great along with green chutney or schezwan chutney, but definitely sprinkle some chaat masala on it before you serve it! 🙂
More Snacks & Appetizers to Try!
As always, I hope you found this recipe useful. If you did, please let me know your rating ⭐️ and feedback 📲 in the comments below, or simply rate the recipe right on the recipe card. I’d really appreciate it. ❤️
Prawns Koliwada Recipe
- 30 prawns / shrimp tail off, peeled, deveined
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp maida / all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- ½ tbsp yogurt
- 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅔ tsp ajwain / carom seeds
- 1 tsp oil
- Clean the prawns well and pat dry.
- In a bowl, mix together salt, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste & lemon juice, and add the prawns to it, and mix everything well.
- Let the prawns marinate in the spice mix for 15-20 minutes at room temperature.
- Once the time is up, ensure to drain off all excess liquid from this marinade.
- In another bowl, mix together corn flour, maida, yogurt, kashmiri chilli powder, salt, ajwain seeds, and oil, and add in the prawns to this mix, after draining the excess liquid from the earlier marinade.
- There will still be a little moisture from the first marinade, which is okay because that will help make this more paste like and not as dry as it was before.
- The goal is to get a thick paste like marinade, that you will need to ensure to spread over the prawns right before frying them to ensure the prawns are coated somewhat evenly.
Deep Frying Prawns Koliwada
- In a frying pan, heat up the oil, and fry the prawns, a few at a time, so as to not overcrowd the pan, and fry each batch for about 3-5 minutes, till the prawns turn golden brown & crispy.
- Sprinkle chaat masala, and serve with schezwan chutney or green chutney.
- Do not skip draining off the excess liquid from the first marinade, because that will lead to a more runny batter, and a thicker coating, which will not give you the authentic koliwada texture.
- Do not skip spreading the marinade over the prawns, right before frying them, to give the prawns atleast somewhat of an even coating.
If you’d like FREE recipes and meal prep ideas delivered directly to your email inbox every Friday in one short email, then subscribe to the Foodie Friday list HERE, and never run out of ideas on what to cook over the weekend or prep for the week ahead. 🙂