Prawn Masala Prawn Thokku Shrimp Masala Cook With Sharmila, 41% OFF

How to make Eral Thokku

Eral Thokku is a traditional South Indian dish, specifically from the Tamil Nadu region. To understand this dish, it’s essential to first appreciate the context of South Indian cuisine, which is known for its rich flavors, diverse spices, and wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Eral Thokku falls into the non-vegetarian category and primarily features shrimp (eral in Tamil) as its main ingredient.

The dish is essentially a type of pickle or relish made with shrimp, and it embodies the intricate balancing act of spices that South Indian cuisine is celebrated for. The preparation involves cooking the shrimp with a carefully selected array of spices, including but not limited to mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and coriander powder. These spices not only contribute to its vibrant taste but also to its appealing aroma. A significant aspect of Eral Thokku is the use of tamarind, which imparts a tangy flavor that contrasts beautifully with the heat from the chili powder and the other spices.

Eral Thokku Recipe

Prawn Masala Prawn Thokku Shrimp Masala Cook With Sharmila, 41% OFF

Eral Thokku

Eral means “prawns” in Tamil. This delicious semi-dry prawn curry is an excellent side for a variety of rice dishes. It also makes a perfect accompaniment to a nonvegetarian platter. The prawns are marinated and cooked with onion and tomato, and the fennel seeds add a distinct flavor to this dish—take care not to burn them.
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people
Calories 654 kcal


  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 large skillet


  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric divided
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 curry leaf sprig
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons red chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


  • In a small bowl, combine the shrimp and 1⁄4 teaspoon of turmeric. Season with salt and mix well. Refrigerate to marinate for about 1 hour.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil.
  • Add the onion, fennel seeds, and curry leaves to the skillet. Lightly season with salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  • Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for about 20 seconds, just buntil fragrant.
  • Add the tomatoes and a bit more salt. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are broken down and cooked.
  • Stir in the chile powder, coriander, and remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon of turmeric. Season with salt.
  • Add the marinated shrimp and water to the skillet and stir to coat the shrimp. Cover the skillet and cook for 4 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through. Serve garnished with cilantro.


Be sure to keep a close eye on this and other gravy dishes as they cook, making sure to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan regularly to prevent sticking and burning. Depending on the size of your shrimp, the cooking time will vary.
Keyword ground turmeric, shrimp

Cooking Tips about Eral Thokku

Prawns Thokku, 46% OFF |

  • Quality of Shrimp: Select fresh or high-quality frozen shrimp for the best flavor. Ensure they are properly cleaned, deveined, and if preferred, tails removed. The freshness of the shrimp significantly impacts the taste of the dish.
  • Spice Blend: The essence of Eral Thokku lies in the spice mixture. Roasting spices like mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and curry leaves before grinding them can intensify their flavors. However, be careful not to burn the spices as it can introduce a bitter taste.
  • Balancing Flavors: Achieving the perfect balance between tanginess, spiciness, and sweetness is crucial. Start with smaller amounts of tamarind and chili powder, then adjust according to your taste preferences. Remember, it’s easier to add more than to correct an overly spicy or tangy dish.
  • Cooking Oil: Using sesame oil is recommended for its authentic taste and aroma. However, ensure the oil is heated to the right temperature before adding the mustard seeds to avoid a raw flavor.
  • Simmering: Once all ingredients are added, simmer the dish on a low flame. This slow-cooking process allows the shrimp to absorb the flavors thoroughly without becoming tough.
  • Tomato and Onion Paste: To achieve a smooth consistency and richer flavor, finely chop the onions and tomatoes or blend them into a coarse paste. This technique helps in integrating the flavors more harmoniously with the shrimp.
  • Adjusting Thickness: Depending on your preference for the dish’s consistency, adjust the amount of water you add. Some enjoy Eral Thokku with a thicker gravy, which is excellent for pairing with dosa or idli, while others may prefer it slightly thinner, ideal for mixing with rice.
  • Final Taste Test: Before serving, do a final taste test and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Sometimes, a pinch of sugar can be added to enhance the flavors further.

Serving suggestions about Eral Thokku

Prawn Thokku - BlendofSpicesBySara

  • With Rice: The most common and traditional way to enjoy Eral Thokku is alongside rice. Its rich and tangy flavor complements the simplicity of plain steamed rice exceptionally well. You can either mix it with rice or serve it on the side.
  • As a Side Dish: It acts as a perfect accompaniment with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian main courses. Its bold flavors make it a great side dish, adding depth to your meal.
  • With Dosa: Dosa, a type of fermented crepe made from rice batter and black lentils, pairs beautifully with Eral Thokku. The crispy texture of dosa with the moist, spicy shrimp relish creates a balance of flavors and textures.
  • With Idli: Similar to dosa, idli, which are steamed rice cakes, can also be enjoyed with Eral Thokku. The soft and spongy texture of idlis soaked in the rich flavors of the Eral Thokku makes for a satisfying meal.
  • In South Indian Tiffin Boxes: Incorporating Eral Thokku into tiffin boxes along with other dishes offers a delightful surprise. Its robust flavor enhances the overall taste experience of the meal.
  • As a Spread for Bread or Chapatis: Although unconventional, spreading Eral Thokku on toasted bread or using it as a filling for chapatis can offer a savory snack option or a quick meal.

Top 5 FAQs about Eral Thokku

Prawn Gravy Or Eral Thokku Recipe » Hotspot Kitchen

  • What is Eral Thokku? Eral Thokku is a traditional South Indian shrimp relish or pickle primarily from the Tamil Nadu region. It is known for its rich flavor, derived from a blend of spices such as mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and coriander powder, along with tamarind for tanginess, and cooked in sesame oil. It can be served with rice, dosas, idlis, or as a side dish.
  • How do you achieve the perfect balance of flavors in Eral Thokku? Achieving the perfect balance lies in starting with smaller amounts of key ingredients like tamarind and chili powder, and then adjusting according to taste. The dish should ideally strike a harmonious balance between tanginess, spiciness, and a hint of sweetness, which is sometimes enhanced with a bit of sugar.
  • Can Eral Thokku be made with frozen shrimp, and if so, any tips on using them? Yes, Eral Thokku can be made with frozen shrimp. Ensure that the frozen shrimp are of high quality and thoroughly thawed, cleaned, and deveined before use. The freshness and quality of shrimp significantly impact the flavor of the dish.
  • Is it necessary to use sesame oil for cooking Eral Thokku? While sesame oil is recommended for its authentic taste and aroma, it’s not mandatory. However, using sesame oil can greatly enhance the dish’s flavor profile typical of Tamil Nadu cuisine. It’s important to heat the oil to the right temperature before adding spices to avoid any raw flavors.
  • What are some creative ways to serve Eral Thokku? Aside from the traditional serving methods with rice, idli, or dosa, Eral Thokku can also be used as a spread for toasted bread, a filling for chapatis for a savory snack or quick meal, or even included in South Indian tiffin boxes as a flavorful side. Its versatility allows for a variety of serving possibilities.

Eral Thokku is a quintessential representation of the rich culinary heritage of Tamil Nadu, a dish that harmoniously blends the robust flavors of South Indian spices with the delicate sweetness of shrimp. Its preparation, which emphasizes the careful selection and balance of spices, and the use of traditional techniques like simmering and roasting, showcases the artistry involved in South Indian cooking. Eral Thokku’s versatility as a dish that can complement rice, dosas, idlis, or even serve as a unique spread or filling, further testifies to its integral place in Tamil cuisine. Whether served in a formal meal or enjoyed as a quick snack, Eral Thokku invites both the novice and the experienced cook to explore the depths of South Indian flavors, making it not just a dish, but an experience that celebrates the culture, traditions, and gastronomic excellence of Tamil Nadu.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating