Shrimp Coconut Curry

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This shrimp coconut curry is easy to make in a cast iron pan or a Dutch oven and has great flavor from smoked paprika, chipotle and ancho chili powder, coriander seeds, turmeric, fresh ginger, lots of fresh peppers, coconut milk and crushed tomatoes.

shrimp coconut curry

How to make shrimp coconut curry:

The most labor-intensive part of this recipe is the prep work but if you want to, you can do almost all of that ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.

So, here’s what you do: mince or press six garlic cloves, grate a bit of fresh ginger, chop chili, serrano and jalapeño peppers and grate a peeled, raw white onion.

Grating raw onion sounds off-putting no doubt but to be honest, it is not that bad. You can use either the grating attachment of your food processor or you can grate the onion by hand, using the coarse side of your box grater. If you count the time it takes to clean the food processor and attachment after grating, then both techniques take about the same amount of time, so I usually use the box grater. The job actually gets done quite quickly and as long as I don’t keep my face directly over the onion, I usually don’t break out in tears.

Once you’ve got all your ingredients ready, you can get to the fun part. You start by heating a bit of vegetable oil in a cast iron pan or a Dutch oven. You add mustard seeds and coriander seeds and fry them until they sizzle. (You want to watch out that the seeds don’t jump out of the pan, which is why I prefer the Dutch oven for this recipe.)

Next you add the garlic, the ginger and the grated onion and fry them until they soften. Mix in ancho chili, smoked paprika, chipotle and turmeric powder, then throw in all the peppers and fry them for a few minutes. Add canned crushed tomato and coconut milk and turn up the heat. Once you’ve brought the mix to a boil, you add the shrimp and simmer until they are cooked through. You finish the dish with a bit of soy sauce and rice vinegar and you’re good to go!

Recipe Tip:

You probably noticed the abundance of different fresh peppers in this curry for great flavor and a bit of heat. Most of that heat sits in the ribs and seeds of the fruits, so you can adjust the level of spiciness to your liking by leaving in more or fewer of those parts.

More delicious curry recipes:

shrimp coconut curry
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5 from 2 votes

Shrimp Coconut Curry

An easy and quick yet very flavorful shrimp coconut curry recipe with coriander, turmeric, ginger and lots of fresh peppers. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Thai
Keyword: shrimp coconut curry
Servings: 3
Calories: 750kcal


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2/3 cup peeled and grated raw white onion* (1 -2 large onions)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 red chili pepper, sliced (half of the seeds and ribs included if you like it a little spicy)
  • 4 serrano chilies, chopped (all seeds and ribs removed, unless you like it very spicy)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, chopped (all seeds and ribs removed, unless you like it even spicier)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 1 can coconut milk (14 ounces)
  • 16 - 20 medium size raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • cilantro as garnish


  • In a cast iron pan or a Dutch oven, heat the oil until shimmering.
  • Add mustard and coriander seeds to the oil and fry on medium heat until they sizzle (1-2 minutes).
  • Add garlic, ginger and onion and fry until soft.
  • Add ancho chili, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, turmeric, serranos, jalapeños and chili pepper and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  • Add shrimp, simmer until shrimp are cooked through.
  • Add soy sauce and vinegar. (You can add more of each than the recipe calls for depending on how salty and sour you like it.)
  • Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.


*You can grate the onion either with the grating attachment in your food processor or you can do it by hand using the coarse side of a box grater.


Calories: 750kcal

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shrimp coconut curry


  1. Bob Linton says:

    Nicole, I have to say your work has really kicked up a notch. Another beautiful image that brings the ultimate comment: I wish I took it.
    I like the way you are centering warm vibrant colors in bright values surrounded with dark earthy tones. Easy to describe, hard to do.

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Bob. It’s not only very pleasant to hear such a nice compliment it is also very helpful to get this kind of feedback as I’m trying to settle into a more recognizable and distinct style for this blog.

      I think a big part of the particular look of this photo is the dark rustic wood surface. It provides good contrast to bright, colorful food and I was very lucky to find it. (I’m thinking more and more that having the right props is 90 percent of the battle in food photography).

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