Varutharacha Chemmeen Curry | Shrimps in Roasted Coconut Gravy | Kerala Style

Varutharacha Chemmeen Curry

“Kerala and its love for seafood”- It is too hard to find a food documentary or write-up on Kerala cuisine without mentioning how important is seafood to people in Kerala.  With about 580 km of coastal line in the western side and more than 10 lakh people depending on marine and inland fisheries for livelihood, it is not surprising that Kerala offers a broad collection of seafood delicacies. Among them, dishes made using crustaceans like Shrimps, Prawns, Crabs, Lobster etc are always listed as special on the menu.

Varutharacha Chemmeen Curry is a tasty dish in which the shrimps are cooked in roasted coconut gravy. The combination of shrimps with roasted coconut and gambooge (Kudampuli) gives it a distant and absolutely wonderful flavor. This curry is best suitable to have it along with Choru (Cooked Rice), or any Kerala breakfast items like Puttu, Idiyappam, Appam, Dosa, Idly etc.

Here’s the detailed recipe.


  1. Shrimps or Prawns – 500 gm, deshelled and deveined
  2. Shallots – 10, thinly sliced
  3. Ginger – 1″ piece, finely chopped
  4. Garlic – 6 cloves, finely chopped
  5. Green chillies – 3 or as per your spice level
  6. Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  7. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  8. Chilli powder – 2 tsp
  9. Gambooge (Kudampuli) – 3 small pieces, soaked in water
  10. Salt – As per taste
  11. Water – 1.5 cup approximately
  12. Coconut oil – As required

To grind

  1. Grated coconut – 1 cup
  2. Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
  3. Dry Red Chillies – 5
  4. Curry leaves – 1 sprig

For tempering

  1. Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  2. Shallots – 4, thinly sliced
  3. Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  4. Coconut oil – As required


  1. Dry roast the grated coconut, till it turns light brown. Keep stirring to avoid burning.
  2. Add coriander seeds, dry red chillies, and 1 sprig curry leaves to it. Roast for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Allow the roasted coconut mixture to cool. Then, grind to a fine paste by adding water. This is the masala paste which makes the base for the curry.
  4. In a thick bottomed pan, heat some coconut oil and add ginger, garlic, curry leaves and green chillies. Saute for 2 minutes in a medium flame.
  5. Add the 10 sliced shallots and cook till it becomes translucent and mushy.
  6. Add salt, roasted coconut masala paste, gambooge pieces (kudampuli) and water. Let it boil. If the masala paste has enough water, you may not need to add extra water. Do accordingly.
  7. Once the gravy is boiled, add the cleaned shrimps and cook well. Check salt and add more if needed. Switch off the flame.
  8. In a kadai, heat some coconut oil.
  9. Add mustard seeds. Let it splutter.
  10. Add 4 sliced shallots, curry leaves and fry till the shallots turn light brown and starts to crisp. This is the tempering.
  11. Add the tempering to the curry and mix well.
  12. Serve with rice or Kerala breakfast dishes like Puttu, Appam, Idiyappam, Dosa, Idly etc.

Enjoy! 🙂

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