• Turmeric-boost & curry leaf wok-charred prawns (Benito Martin)Source: Benito Martin

Fresh turmeric is not just for adding to smoothies. You can use it like you would ginger in stir-fries and curries. 






Skill level

Average: 5 (3 votes)

This is a quick stir-fry for a weeknight bowl meal or part of a larger shared banquet with friends. You can find fresh turmeric and curry leaves from greengrocers. When peeling turmeric, make sure you wear gloves as it stains your fingers a vibrant yellow. I would even set aside a dedicated chopping board and knife as the stains don’t fade. 


  • 400 g raw small king prawns (200 g peeled raw small prawns)
  • 1½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 dried small chillies
  • ¼ cup (lightly packed) fresh curry leaves
  • 5 cm x 3 cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled, julienned
  • 4 cm x 3 cm piece ginger, peeled, julienned
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 200 g sugar snap peas, strings removed 
  • steamed brown rice, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Peel the prawns, leaving the tails intact. Using a sharp knife, cut the prawns along their back without cutting all the way through - this will make them curl up nicely when cooked. Remove the intestinal tract. Set aside.
  2. Heat the coconut in a large wok over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook for 15 seconds or until they begin to sizzle. Add the chilli and curry leaves - be careful, they may spit - and cook for 15 seconds or until just starting to change colour. 
  3. Add the turmeric and ginger and stir-fry for 15 seconds or until aromatic but not coloured. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 15 seconds or until aromatic but not coloured.
  4. Increase the heat to high, add the prawns, toss to coat and stir-fry for 2 minute or until they just start to change colour. 
  5. Add the sugar snap peas and stir-fry for 1 minute or until the prawns are just cooked through. [video op] Serve immediately with rice.


Photography by Benito Martin, styling by Lynsey Fryers, food preparation by O Tama Carey and creative concept by Belinda So.


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