Everybody loves a good tandoori, but very few really know the history behind it. The recipe originated in the early 1900’s in Peshawar – then India. It started with chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, and then cooked in a ‘tandoor’. The tandoor is actually native to India dating back to 3000 BC. Small mud plastered ovens resembling Tandoor with a side door have been found in Harappa and Mohenjodero settlements of ancient Indus valley. But it was the Moguls who in the 1900’s made it portable, carried it everywhere they went and thus found its way in India from Persia. The far famed tandoori chicken is from the recent times comparatively. Created by a chef in the Moti Mahal restaurant in 1948, it was a hit almost instantly. Cooked at a extremely high temperature in the tandoor the chicken remains succulent and juicy inside and a crispy outside with an aroma, that can bring the dead back to life, just to have a bite of that delectable chicken.

Over the time, the same marination has been used for different meats, including, lamb, fish, turkey, lobsters, prawns … almost any meat you fancy actually ! And it tastes wonderful no matter which meat you choose. Tandoori prawns are definitely one of my favourites. And they cook pretty fast too. And overnight marination is always recommended for tandoori, but for seafood a few hours works just fine. A good green chutney (corriander +mint), onion rings and yogurt is always a must with tandoori. And ofcourse if you can a tandoori naan would just be the prefect accompaniment. Tandoori food is always bright orange-red coloured. Obviously achieved by food colouring, but its the colour that distinguishes it as tandoori.

These Tandoori prawns have been made for a special reason. I have been given the honour by the extremely talented Bee of Rasa Malaysia to do a guest post. Technically I should be featuring her as she is a fantastic cook and a great photographer. There has never been a time I’ve seen some lovely recipe up at her blog and not wished I could have that off the screen. But she’s humble enough to ask me to be a guest on her blog, so yes it is an honour. If you haven’t already visited her marvelous blog , you must know that she has one of the most comprehensive blogs with tantalizing recipes from all over Asia and beyond. On her first trip to India, Bee tried some of the tandoori prawns and she loved them far more than the tandoori chicken. Not to mention she is a hard core fan of prawns … and so this was the first things that came to her mind, knowing my Indian roots 🙂

Tandoori Prawns

  • 20 large prawns – shelled with tail on and de-veined
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger/garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1-2 tsps kashmiri red chiili powder
  • 1/2 tsp orange-red food colouring
  • 1 tablespoon tandoori masala (optional)
  • salt to taste

It doesn’t get easier than this. Just mix all the ingredients, leave to marinate overnight or 2hrs minimum. Fire up a grill or can even use a griddle pan. Brush with oil and grill them for a few mins till done. Serve hot with some sliced onion, yogurt and chutney.

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Comment :

Gorgeous! Stunning! Delicious! These look so good Kate! I had no idea about the food colouring but tandoori dishes have the best flavours.


Thank You Peter 🙂 n yeah tandoori food is not tandoori without the colour!

A wonderful combination! What gorgeous flavors!



kajal i hope you did not only make these for RM – i would love a tiny share. i am really loving the spices and flavor combination here. gorgeous!

I have only tried tandoori chicken before, these tandoori prawns look divine, will have to try your recipe one day soon! Thanks Kajal :)!!


Rosa, thank you

Meeta, haha if only we the virtual treats could transform into the real stuff, I’d make you a entire platter of assorted tandoori 🙂

Kenny, you have to try the prawns, sometimes I can’t decide which one is better chicken or prawns !

wow! it looks so fab!

they look stunning

Nice to meet you… I’m glad Bee @ RM introduced you to me.

Lovely blog indeed and the prawns look delicious.

Glad to have found your blog via RM. I’ve left a quick question for you on RM. Both you & your foods are just gorgeous!

I love reading the history about tandoori as I adore any food cooked by this method. Your prawns no doubt are delish… plus the fotos (esp the first one, with that beautiful lighting on the water glasses and the sauce) are enough to make my eyes practically glue on computer!


Peachkins and Maninas – Thank You 🙂

Tuty, thank you so much

Pettite Nyonya , its lovely to see you here too , hope you enjoyed my blog … n thanks you 🙂

Gattina … you are really sweet, you’ve brought a really big smile to me this Sunday morning … Thank You 🙂

What an interesting bit of information Kate! It looks so gorgeous too!

Totally agree about Rasa Malaysia; i love Bee’s place. Hours I have drooled there 🙂
I am sure trying these prawn too. Never have tandoored prawns.
I will have to used the griddle pan or the oven.
Loved reading about the tandoor history too, I had not idea about it.

Oh these look gorgeous!! Love the color. I’ve always enjoyed fried prawns (like my mom makes them) but this is more healthy and so easy!



I bought all the spices yesterday so I can make this but I have a question – are the onions and chutney mixed in with the yoghurt or are they served separately? This was not clear from the photos. Thank you!

Tandoori is about the only dish I order at the Indian restaurant and if it comes out dry and lifeless, then I know the place is bad. I am tempted to try it at home now!

Yum, these look really good. I had some leftover prawns from a wedding I catered, and I just fried them up cajun style yesterday. I wish I saw this tandori recipe earlier!

Wow….gorgeous colour Kate! Looks superb. Who doesnt love tandoori 🙂 Prawns and chicken tandoori are my absolute favourites. Those skewers look fancy.


Simone thanks

Happy Cook, yup Bee is an absolute star 🙂

MLEK – fried taste good to sometimes, but these take over any day 🙂

Elsie the onions are finely sliced in rings and tosses in salt and lime juice. And the yogurt is served separately – slightly salted.

TasteofBerirut … thats a great trick ! Always tell the truth :)) Let me know how they turn out if you give them a go 🙂

Stella … wow you catered a wedding !

Homecooked … yup ! love tandoori to + its so hassle free to make !

I love tandoori. Never had shrimp prepared that way , though.



Kajal this looks delicious — I had my first Tandoori chicken experience back when I was in college and it was absolutely delicious. It had a really nice smokey and crispy exterior with a moist and tender interior, I can only imagine how wonderful tandoori prawns would be. I love the way you set up your food designs, it’s so eloquent precise and visually striking, I love the swirls in the yogurt and the way it pairs with the green of the limes. Ah my eyes are in heaven!

These look absolutely wonderful Kate – how fabulous is your styling? I love it!

Wow, these prawns sure look delicious, will try this recipe next time when shrimp is in the menu 🙂 Looks easy and sooooo tasty 🙂


Dinners & Dreams, you should give it a try sometime.

Joy, you always have the sweetest comments for me. Thank YOu so much 🙂

Mowie … well not half as good as yours 🙂

Juliana, yes it is incredibly easy and fast to make !


I literally stumbled upon your blog and have truly enjoyed reading it.Its actually a nice change to not see the same ol’ dal chawal- curry- dal makhani recipes here.I love the innovative recipes and a definate change(from the mundane) of what you have posted.I do like/need and enjoy my comfort food.But there are enough blogs out there already doing that.Enjoy your baby mine are almost double digit,they sure grow up fast.(a relief in some ways);-) you’ll discover soon enough.I am in the U.S and can’t wait for spring and summer to arrive my daughter would love to eat the shaved ice.Will look forward to trying some of the recipes.


Sangeeta, thank you for the wonderful compliment. Glad you liked my blog. I am trying to soak in every moment with my son – he’s already almost 6 months old … yes growing up very fast ! N yummm shaved ice … or better still the desi Gola’s … you have to make them for your daughter.

Beautiful photos and recipe!

We haven’t tried the tadoori anything at my house, but I am definitely researching it. What a great tradition to cook so many dishes in! You have endless possibilities.. Must try!

That looks great! I appreciate the historical tidbits on tandoori……I learned some new things today!

This looks DELICIOUS and I will try it ASAP! Thanks, and if you can come visit my blog at http://swedishchefinva.blogspot.com — Susan

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