Unakka Chemeen or Sun dried shrimp

This side dish has travelled with me all the way from my childhood. “Unnaka Chemeen” or “Sun dried Prawns” is a much loved dish across Kerala. Crunchy, spicy prawns, spicy red chilli and deliciously sweet caramelized onions! Yum! This dish is best served alongside rice or rice gruel. I however like to eat mine like a snack whilst reading a book! It is delicious any way you eat it! It takes a little work but the end product is so worth it!


Sun Dried Prawns: 250 gms (cleaned)
Shallots: 20 nos
Chilli powder: As per individual spice meter
Curry leaves: a small bunch
Oil:  enough to sautee the prawns and shallots


– Pour the sun dried prawns into a sieve and wash in a drizzle under the pipe . (Tip: Do not keep it immersed in water as it becomes soggy)

– Dry fry the prawns in a wok until the prawns turn pinkish red

– Crush the shallots using a motar and pestle

– Mix salt into the shallots using your fingers

– Into the wok, add the oil and fry the prawns again and keep aside

– Into the same prawn oil, add the crushed, salted shallots and curry leaves and fry until caramelized to almost crisp

– Add in the prawns and chilli powder.

– Stir until the chilli powder is coated evenly and take it off the heat immediately

– Store in an air tight container and enjoy whenever the craving hits you! (preferably a tighlty sealed steel container)

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