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Coconut Shrimp Curry – Indian style

December 8, 2009

I put ‘Shrimp curry’ on my menu for this week – after I saw a packet of jumbo shrimp on sale at the grocery store – with no idea as to how I’d make it. After some trolling on the internet, looking for a good, spicy, indian-ish recipe (what mostly came up were thai-style curries), I came across one that was almost what I was looking for. Almost. Using this recipe as an inspiration, I’ve created my own version, to make it simpler to prepare, as well as to suit my taste and cooking style.

Serves 4

You will need:

  • 24 ounces of shrimp – raw or cooked – deveined, shelled and thawed
  • 1 can of coconut milk – approx. 13.5 ounces
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 4 tablsepoons vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, separated
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Paprika powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • a handful of chopped cilantro leaves for garnishing


  • In a large pot, heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • When well heated, fry the roughly chopped onions on medium heat. Make sure not to brown the onions.
  • When the onions are softened and translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste. Mix well and allow to fry for about 30 seconds
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes with the tomato paste. The paste adds color to the curry.
  • When the tomatoes are soft and well incorporated with the onions, turn off the heat, and empty the contents of the pot in a food processor
  • Add 1/4 cup water to the mixture and blend into a paste
  • In the same pot you used before, heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil on medium heat
  • Once well heated, reduce heat to low and then add the Bay leaves, and allow to fry for a minute
  • Then add the blended onion and tomato paste
  • Allow the paste to re-fry for 30 seconds or so
  • Put in all the dry powdered masalas
  • Mix well, allowing the spices to cook well
  • After a minute of stirring, add the coconut milk and mix everything well together
  • Add salt to taste, and allow the gravy to simmer on low heat for 1-2 minutes. Add some warm water if you feel the curry is too thick
  • Just before serving, add the shrimp and allow it to cook in the curry (if using raw shrimp)
    • If you are using cooked shrimp, add it in the gravy just before serving, but do not let it simmer on heat. Turn off the heat and let the shrimp heat up in the curry itself.
  • Season with lemon juice and garnish with Cilantro leaves
  • Serve with steamed white rice
11 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2009 10:56 am

    this looks fabulous, although I’ll have a hard time finding jumbo shrimp around here, I’ll have to use chicken instead. What should I use instead of ginger garlic paste? is it just crushed garlic and ginger? I actually have all the ingredients at home now.

  2. December 9, 2009 11:03 am

    Hi Sarah! You can use the same recipe for chicken too! My suggestion – marinate the chicken in lots of lemon juice and some dry spices (chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder – 1/4 tbsp each) for about an hour.

    The dish is not meant to have pieces of ginger and garlic coming in your mouth while you eat, so try and grind some up – equal parts garlic and ginger. You can store it in a bottle for at least 3 mths so you can always use the rest in a later recipe. Good luck and do let me know how it turns out!

  3. December 10, 2009 1:15 am

    this is incredible but i think am gonna find it hard to get shrimp around here in Uganda, what else could i use then. i love indian food

    • December 10, 2009 2:36 pm

      Hi Kimkeen! Thanks for checking out OneLifeToEat! Read my reply above to Sarah’s comment. You can easily use chicken in place of the shrimp and it’ll be just fine. Do visit again!

  4. Claudine permalink
    November 21, 2011 3:13 pm

    I tried the recipe and it tasted awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  5. TraciK permalink
    January 26, 2013 8:13 am

    Thanks for this recipe! Can’t wait try it. Like you, I was trolling the net teying to find something similar but could only find Thai dishes – until I saw your version. Yippee! I’m using both shrimp and chicken as I have a little of each. Cannot wait to make this, and thank you again for posting!!

  6. Norma Tejada permalink
    June 24, 2014 1:27 pm

    What vegetables go well with Coconut Shrimp Curry?

  7. Maggie permalink
    June 25, 2014 11:42 am

    I just made this today and it’s really delicious. For sure my husband will like this! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  8. Colleen Spears permalink
    November 4, 2017 5:17 pm

    Fabulous! I doubled the dry spices, and added half a Serrano pepper without the seeds, and if I make it again I will add a few vegetables. My friend wanted an Indian curry, so I tried this one, and he raved about it. This is a KEEPER!

  9. Dan Grasso permalink
    December 19, 2020 8:16 am

    Made this last night for my wife’s birthday dinner. I followed the recipe pretty closely (which I don’t usually do), and it was pretty easy to follow. She LOVED it. She’s a petite woman & usually doesn’t go for seconds (or thirds), but she did last night. We both loved this meal. Thanks very much. Dan Grasso


  1. Indian cooking basics – Making the curry « One Life to Eat

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