Prawns/Shrimp Pickle

One more pickle recipe from my mom in law. She usually make it with fish, but she said prawns can also be made in the same way. If I say I love this pickle, it will be an understatement, because I can literally live on this pickle. Since I always get parcels from mummy, I've never tried to make it my own. But last week I was left with empty bottles and after being pampered with home made pickles I didn't feel like buying ready made ones. Since I was making it for the first time I was a bit apprehensive, but to my luck it came out well without much hiccups :)

Hope you too will like it and this is more easy compared to the lemon pickle recipe. For me, the only time consuming part was the cleaning of prawns.

Here is the recipe…

prawns achar 300x201 1
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Prawns/Shrimp Pickle

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Course: Dips and Sauces, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala, South Indian
Servings: 5 -7
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 1 kg Boneless king Fish / prawns
  • To marinate
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp Ginger sliced
  • 1 tbsp Garlic sliced
  • 1 tsp Green chilly chopped
  • Curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp Kashmiri chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp Mustard seed
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek seed (uluva)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup Vinegar
  • Oil
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Water (boiled & cooled)


  • Marinate the cleaned fish/prawns with Kashmiri chilli powder (2 tsp), Turmeric powder (1/2 tsp) and salt and keep for half an hour. Heat oil in a pan & fry the fish/prawns. Keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in another pan and add mustard & fenugreek seeds. When it crackles add ginger sliced, garlic sliced and green chilly chopped & curry leaves and fry till it becomes brown. Keep it aside. Add ginger garlic paste to the same pan & fry it till it becomes brown. Add chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt. Fry the masala till its done and the oil starts appearing.
  • Add 3-4 tbsp of water. Mix well and after a minute add fried fish/prawns, fried ginger & garlic slices & chopped green chilly & vinegar. Let it boil.
  • If you want more gravy, add 3-4 tbsp water. Boil it for 5 more minutes. Do a taste check and add more salt & vinegar, if required. Remove from fire & let it cool completely.
  • Store it in airtight container and pour the remaining fried oil over the top of the pickle.


If you're making this recipe with fish, cut it into bite size pieces. I used sunflower oil. You can use sesame oil (nallenna), corn oil etc; When you add vinegar, start with 1/2 cup and add more, after doing a taste check. Keep in mind that that it will take time for the flavor to settle in. This is a spicy recipe, please adjust the ingredient measurements to suit your taste.
If you are planning to keep it for a long time, its better to refrigerate it. Also if you're living in a hot & humid climate, refrigeration is strongly recommended. Though you can start using it the day it's made, its better to keep it for 1-2 days for the flavor to settle in. Make sure that you use only boiled & cooled water.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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41 thoughts on “Prawns/Shrimp Pickle”

  1. Hi Maria, I have been trying out several of ur recipes dear, they are all great. Now I am doing ur king fish pickle now. This is the second or third time. It is awesome! I do some additions too sometimes. I did add a bit of sugar to neutralize the whole taste. It was awesome. Thanks a tonne ! I am a passionate cook. Love baking and doing anything with veggies or seafood or meat. Thanks dear….. Moly

  2. HI DEAR,

    • Hi Vani,

      You are welcome :)

      Vinegar is one of the most imp ingredients of this recipe, so I dont think it’s a good idea to leave it out.


  3. Hi, Just completed the pickling process, from the initial taste test it seems great. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. it is indeed simple and delicious…I am going to wait for at least 2 days before it gets devoured..Tasted & Trusted by me!!! Adding a pic i took while still in the pan..

    • Hi Sanjay,

      You are welcome! Nice to know that it worked out for you. Thank you so much for sharing the pic, it looks great! I really felt like having some of it after seeing your shrimp pickle pic :)


  4. Hi Maria,

    I am crazy about prawn pickle and was I elated when I found it here! Especially coz I love your website and your recipes are never disappointing; even for a cooking novice like me :-) One quickie; how much oil should be used when you do the final tempering? I don’t want to over/under do with the oil. Thanks & cheers,



  6. Hi Maria,

    I am going to try out this recipe.  I am planning to make fish pickle.  I will let you know if it comes out good.

    Please let me know when you intend to release your book.  We are looking forward to it.


    • Hi Annie,

      Hope your pickle came out well.

      About the book, its still very much work in progress. Some other things came up in between, so I wasnt able to focus much on the cookbook front. However, I do hope to start working on it soon.


  7. hi Maria,

    Too late to comment, but cant help it. which oil shud be used for the prep? i live in nepal n we get only soybean oil, sunflower oil, mustard oil , olive oil n coconut oil(parachute) here. HELP PLZZZ……………….. n Thanks for ur Lovely recipes . Keep Rocking.

  8. Hi,
    I am a Maharashtrian but I had some friends back in Indian who were from Kerala and I have actually lived on the Kerala style dishes they used to cook. I crave for their recipes but unfortunately not in contact with them now… I am so glad that I found your site.. now I can cook all those recipe reading them from you blog.. Thanks a million for that… and in case I don’t find some typical ones I will mail you regarding it…
    Moreover, I recollect eating some kind of refrigerated Lemon, chilli vinegar combination that made a juicy kind of pickle.. my friends usually added it with any gravy they prepared.. can you please tell me the exact ingredients of that pickle in case you know it.

    • Hi Ketaki,

      Thank you for visiting us here. Great to know that you like Kerala food. Hope you get a chance to try some of the recipes from here. I will try my best to share my knowledge about Kerala food :)

      About this lemon and chilli, it sounds familiar. However I’m not very sure about the recipe as such. If ever I get more details, I will try to post here.

      Happy cooking :)


  9. Hi maria,
    I made this prawns pickle the other day and it was awwwwwwwwwwwwwesome. But i dint add water, so it was a bit dry for an achaar. I was scared that it will spoil soon if we add water as we dont eat achaar regularly…..My husband loved it alot and he started eating so much at a time:).So i added some boiled vinegar later on to make some sauce…made for 125g of prawns since making for the first time. next time will make with 250 gms. I also added garlic pods and a bit of asoefotida after seeing it on my friends blog…Thx alot for the recipe.

  10. Maria,

    You blog is wonderful …Even though this is my first comment, I am a frequent visitor here.

    My Mom also makes this pickle and as a preservative she adds the bark of drumstick tree. Just a small peice , about an inch long. She makes it a fine paste and add to the pickle while preparing it. At home our pickles stay about 1 to 2 year without any problem.


    • Hi Jo

      Thank you for your sweet words :)

      Also thanks for sharing the tip. I didnt know that bark of drumstick tree is a preservative!!

      I will share this with my mom in law, she makes pickles always and she can use it :) I dont have access to drumstick tree here :(


  11. Hi Maria!
    Just got to know of your blog from”Woman’ supplied by the GDN. Superb recipes. Have mailed some to my sister Girija in India. I’m sure she too will try them out. Hope your stay in India is great . Enjoy your vacation. I’m leaving on this 15. bye for now.

    • Hi Indira

      Happy to meet you here :)

      Thanks for sending the recipes to your sis also. Hope you both will try out the recipes and like it too.

      You too have a great vacation!


    • Hi Bhagheerathy

      Thanks a lot for trying the prawns pickle. Very happy to know that you and your husband liked it :) I’ve passed on your compliments to my mom in law, its her recipe, she is also very happy to know that you liked it.

      I’ve a beef pickle recipe with me, but I havent tried it yet. Anyways, now am in India so I wont be able to post it soon. Will post it as soon as I make it.


  12. hi maria….
    ur recipe is wonderful…me and my husband made it last week…today we tried it…oh…”kalakkan” thnks maria…thanks alot…still my mouth is watering…..

  13. Varsha – I remember buying a fish pickle sometime back and it was really bad that I had to throw away the entire bottle. This is easy to make, try cheythu nokittu parayanne :)

    HC – you are always welcome dear :)

    Aajan – Its prawns season here too :), please try it out n let me know.

    Ann dear – thanks da, am waiting to hear from you…

    Thanks Parita :)

    Mathew – :) , you’ve company I too love this pickle, as I’ve already written I can live on this pickle :) btw, homemade ones are any day better than the ready made ones.

  14. you have no idea how much i love this pickle…this is something which i always buy when am packing home after a vacation in india…but never tastes as good as the home made ones…so tempting!!

  15. Hi Maria,

    Your blog and this recipe is fabulous! I have a question though. I want to try this recipe and parcel it to a friend. I was wondering if it would keep fresh for the 3-4 days it would take to get there?

    • Hi Supriya

      Thanks for dropping in. Am so sorry for the delayed reply. It should keep fresh for 3-4 days, make sure that there is enough oil on the top and the pickle is bottled after its cooled completely.

      Hope this helps…


  16. Varsha is right , grandmas pickle iley prawns are as dry as wood…u wont know u r eating prawns….this one is an excellent recipe……getting very very tempted….would love to make this with half quantity…Is the weight of the prawns after cleaning or before cleaning?..let me know ok….?becasue i get cleaned prawn here and i dont bother to buy the one with peel on..:)

    • Hi Shabs

      So sorry for the delayed reply ketto, njan vittu poyi dear :(

      You can use 1 kg prawns after cleaning. Even I buy cleaned prawns, thats so much easier rght :)

      Hope you will like the prawns pickle


  17. My Gosh..making me go mad..even am in such a condition dear..and your pickle looks divine with its color and the smell reaches here..Thanks bookmarking,,hugs,

  18. I got the yummy prawns pickle delivered to the doorstep by the email service!
    Thats cool..
    As its the prawns season here in muscat, onnu pareekshichittu thanne!!

  19. yum yumm..Here I always buy n keep grandma’s shrimp pickle..but athile prawns over fry cheythu ,real hard aayi irikkane pole thonnarundu..This looks real good da..try cheyyanam..:)

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