Our menu at Kappa Chakka Kandhari, of which this recipe is a part, is a tribute to the food I grew up with and to mothers’ cooking. A mother’s recipe is a pathway to childhood memories. It is created not through well-documented notes, but through spontaneity and estimation.

Prawn Kizhi is a twist on Prawn Peerapattichathu. It evokes the goodness of grated coconut, just as Prawn Peera, but takes things a step further. The prawns are steamed in banana leaf parcels, giving them a distinct flavour and making them attractive to serve.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time



  • 20 small prawns
  • 100 gm sliced shallots
  • 25 gm ginger, chopped
  • 25 gm green chillies, chopped
  • 20 gm garlic, chopped
  • 25 ml coconut oil
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp Kudampuli water (Malabar kokum soaked in water)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 strips of curry leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Banana leaves
  • Salt to taste


For Prawn Filling

  1. Wash and clean the prawns well. Marinate with a little turmeric powder, lemon juice, salt and set aside.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a pan and add mustard seeds till they crackle. Toss in the shallots, ginger, garlic, green chillies and curry leaves, and sauté until the shallots turn soft and transparent.
  3. Tip in the chilli powder, turmeric powder and pepper. Sauté well.
  4. Add the marinated prawns and cook till 3/4 done. Mix in the grated coconut and kokum water mix.
  5. Check the seasoning and remove from fire.

For The Kizhi

  1. Take 8 medium-sized round-cut banana leaves and blanch gently on the fire.
  2. Smear a little coconut oil on each leaf and place in it 4 pieces of prawn with the masala.
  3. Pull together the edges of the banana leaf and tie the top with fibre from the banana stem to form bundles.
  4. Steam for approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Serve hot.
Regi Mathew

Regi Mathew

A champion of ethnic cuisine, leading Indian chef Regi Mathew is the Co-Owner and Culinary Director of Kappa Chakka Kandhari, a popular Kerala cuisine restaurant in Chennai that recently opened another space in Bengaluru. Chef Regi’s culinary career, which began with the Taj Group of Hotels, has taken him to several countries and enabled him to learn many cuisines. After 25 years in the F&B industry, he decided to closely explore the cuisine of his home state, Kerala. He spent three years travelling the state, researching its food, and working with 265 housewives and 70 toddy shops, some of whom are now part of the restaurant’s kitchen. He has won several accolades through his career, including being adjudged the Chef of the Year at the Times Food Awards, Chennai, in 2018. Kappa Chakka Kandhari, Chennai, was ranked No 23 at the Conde Nast Top Restaurant Awards 2019.

See more