Nellore Royyala (Prawn) Vepudu (Fry) - Relish The Bite

Steps by steps making Andhra-Style Prawn Fry

Andhra-Style Prawn Fry, also known as Royyala Vepudu in Telugu, is a savory and spicy dish from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which is known for its bold and fiery cuisine. This particular preparation celebrates the natural sweetness of prawns complemented by a variety of aromatic spices and herbs commonly used in Andhran cooking.

The process involves marinating the prawns in a mixture of spices including red chili powder, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste, and possibly garam masala or coriander powder for added depth. A distinctive feature of Andhra-Style Prawn Fry is the generous use of curry leaves and green chilies, which adds a unique flavor profile to the dish.

Another key component is the tempering, where ingredients such as mustard seeds, cumin, garlic, and sometimes fenugreek seeds are heated in oil until they sizzle and release their flavors, creating a fragrant base for the prawns to be cooked in.

Andhra-Style Prawn Fry Recipe

Nellore Royyala (Prawn) Vepudu (Fry) - Relish The Bite

Andhra-Style Prawn Fry

The prawn fry is popularly known as royalla vepudu in Telugu. This dry prawn curry can be served as a starter, or with rice for an entrée. The shrimp are marinated, pan-roasted with curry leaves, and impossible to resist!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people
Calories 649 kcal


  • 1 medium bowl
  • 1 large skillet


  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 garlic cloves minced, divided
  • 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin divided
  • 1 teaspoon red chile powder divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1 large onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 green chile finely chopped
  • 2 curry leaf sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


  • In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, half the garlic, half the ginger, 1⁄2 teaspoon of coriander, 1⁄2 teaspoon of cumin, 1⁄2 teaspoon of chile powder, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of turmeric. Lightly season with salt. Set aside.
  • In a blender or food processor, pulse the onion several times until a chunky paste forms.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Add the marinated shrimp to the skillet in a single layer and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until they are cooked through and all the water released from the shrimp has evaporated. Remove the shrimp and set aside.
  • Increase the heat to medium and add the vegetable oil to the skillet.
  • Add the onion paste and green chile and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.
  • Add the remaining garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the salt and the remaining spices: 1⁄2 teaspoon of coriander, 1⁄2 teaspoon of cumin, 1⁄2 teaspoon of chile powder, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of turmeric. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to the pan to prevent the spices from scorching.
  • Add the cooked shrimp and curry leaves to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the garam masala. Garnish with cilantro.


Be sure to cook the shrimp on medium-low to cook them through without
scorching. Because they will release some water as they cook, there is no need to add any oil to the pan when you cook the shrimp.
Keyword garam masala, shrimp

Cooking Tips about Andhra-Style Prawn Fry

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  • Quality of Prawns: Always use fresh prawns for the best flavor and texture. Clean and devein them properly before marinating.
  • Marination: Marinate the prawns with a mixture of spices such as red chili powder, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste, salt, and a hint of garam masala or coriander powder if you like a deeper flavor. Allow the prawns to marinate for at least 15-30 minutes so they absorb all the flavors.
  • Curry Leaves: Don’t skimp on curry leaves as they are essential for lending that signature Andhra aromatic characteristic to the dish.
  • Tempering: The mustard seeds, cumin, garlic, and other ingredients used for tempering should be fried until they crackle and release their aroma and flavors—this is the tadka which forms the base of the dish’s flavor palette.
  • Sesame Oil: If available, use sesame oil for its distinct flavor that is quintessential in many Andhran dishes. It can take your Prawn Fry to the next level of authenticity.
  • High Heat Cooking: Cook the marinated prawns on high heat so that they sear quickly and get a nice color without overcooking. Prawns cook very fast and can become tough if cooked for too long.
  • Stir Fry Technique: Keep stirring the prawns during frying to ensure even cooking and to prevent them from sticking to the pan.
  • Green Chilies: Adjust the level of green chilies to suit your taste. If you prefer a less spicy dish, you can reduce the quantity of chilies.
  • Final Touches: Just before removing the prawns from the heat, squeeze some lemon juice over them for a tangy kick, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  • Serve Immediately: Andhra-Style Prawn Fry is best served hot and immediately after cooking to enjoy the crispiness and delicate flavors of the prawns.

Serving suggestions about Andhra-Style Prawn Fry

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  • Rice Varieties: A plate of steaming hot white rice is ideal as it acts as a neutral backdrop to the rich flavors of the prawn fry. One could also serve it with flavored rices such as lemon rice or tamarind rice for an additional tangy twist.
  • Indian Breads: If rice isn’t what you’re in the mood for, Andhra-Style Prawn Fry can be paired with various Indian breads such as chapati, naan, or parotta which are perfect for picking up the masala and enjoying the nuanced flavors of the dish.
  • Dals and Sambars: A simple dal (lentil stew) or sambar (tangy lentil and vegetable soup) could provide a nice balance to the dry and spicy prawn fry and offer a more well-rounded meal.
  • Yogurt or Raita: Considering the spiciness of Royyala Vepudu, having a bowl of cool yogurt or a refreshing raita on the side can help temper the heat for those who might want to ease the spice levels.
  • Salad: A light cucumber or onion salad dressed with a hint of salt, lemon juice, and chili powder would be a fresh, crisp counterbalance to the flavorful prawns.
  • Garnish: Finish your prawn dish with a generous squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of freshly chopped coriander leaves before serving, as this will enhance the prawns’ flavor and add a pop of color to the visual presentation.
  • Beverages: Since Andhra-Style Prawn Fry carries a lot of heat, consider serving it with cool drinks like lassi, coconut water, or even a chilled beer if appropriate.
  • Extra Seasoning: Keep some lemon wedges and a small bowl of salt at the table for anyone who wishes to boost the flavors just a bit more to their taste.

Top 5 FAQs about Andhra-Style Prawn Fry

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  • What are the key spices used in Andhra-Style Prawn Fry? The key spices include red chili powder, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste, and sometimes garam masala or coriander powder for added depth. Fresh curry leaves and green chilies are also essential for their distinct flavors.
  • Is it necessary to use sesame oil for cooking Royyala Vepudu? While sesame oil is recommended for its authenticity and distinct flavor, if unavailable, you can substitute it with other cooking oils. However, sesame oil does lend a traditional taste to the dish.
  • How long should the prawns be marinated before cooking? The prawns should ideally be marinated for at least 15-30 minutes to ensure that they soak up all the flavors of the spices. Extending the marination time can deepen the taste even more.
  • Can I adjust the level of spiciness in Royyala Vepudu? Absolutely, adjust the quantity of red chili powder and green chilies to suit your personal spice tolerance. The dish is traditionally spicy, but the heat can be tailored to your preference.
  • What are the best ways to serve Andhra-Style Prawn Fry? Andhra-Style Prawn Fry is commonly served as a starter or side dish. It pairs well with plain steamed rice, flavored rice like lemon rice or tamarind rice, or various Indian breads such as chapatis or naan. Having a bowl of yogurt or raita nearby can help balance the spiciness of the dish.

In conclusion, Andhra-Style Prawn Fry, or Royyala Vepudu, is a celebration of the fiery and flavorful cuisine specific to Andhra Pradesh—an Indian state renowned for its love of chilies and bold spices. Made with succulent prawns that have been marinated in a vibrant mix of traditional spices like red chili powder, turmeric, and ginger-garlic paste, the dish is finished with a tadka of mustard seeds, cumin, and the aroma of curry leaves.


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