Coconut Shrimp Curry

We love curry around here. And we love shrimp. I have a recipe for Shrimp Stir-Fry with Coconut Curry Sauce that is divine and marries the two flavors but is more of a, well, stir-fry, as the name implies, versus this new curry recipe that channels a stew-like flavor and style.

Extremely simple to prepare, and quick, too, the combination of sultry, deep spices with the creamy coconut milk and tender shrimp is beyond what words can describe. This, to me, is pure comfort food. We ate it over basmati rice and although we sopped up the saucy curry with delicate pieces of naan, you could easily serve this in a bowl, just like the Coconut Curry Soup. Methinks I should really seek help for my love of all things coconut and curry.

And finally, if you are averse to shrimp, I actually believe chicken would make a great substitution here OR leave it out completely for a vegetarian dish. Make this! Love this! Don’t be scared of the flavors if you haven’t cooked Indian food a lot – I just know you’ll adore the subtle, delicious flavors! And please invite me over when you serve it up.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

What To ServeSliced cucumbers and other fresh veggies with Homemade Ranch Dressing
Sliced cheese
Cut up apples with Toffee Apple Dip (for a sweet and semi healthy dessert!)

One Year Ago: Pineapple Salsa Chicken {Slow Cooker}
Two Years Ago: Tortellini Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Tomato Vinaigrette
Three Years Ago: Quick and Delicious Clam Chowder

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Yield: Serves 6

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Note: the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon kosher salt which is how I make it and love it, however, several commenters have indicated the salt factor was too much for them so if you are worried about saltiness, start with half as much and work up from there.


    For the shrimp marinade:
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • 1-2 pounds large or extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, from about a 1-inch peeled piece of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can coconut milk, light or regular
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Hot cooked rice for serving, if desired


  1. For the simple shrimp marinade, toss the shrimp with the salt, pepper, cayenne and lemon juice in a resealable large bag or in a bowl. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat until rippling and hot. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pepper, ginger, salt, garlic, coriander, turmeric and curry powder. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is very fragrant and the onion is soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the undrained tomatoes to the pot and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, for about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Add the coconut milk, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the shrimp and any accumulated juices from the marinade. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are curled, lightly pink and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve over hot, cooked rice, if desired.

Recipe Source: adapted from American Masala by Suvir Saran – a great find I checked out at my local library

154 Responses to Coconut Shrimp Curry

  1. Joy says:

    I made this with chicken- you’re right- it’s delicious. About to make it for the second time.

  2. Jill says:

    I made this for dinner tonight. It was the best, most delicious thing I’ve made in a long time!

    I couldn’t dare invite you over – that would mean I would have to share. 😉

  3. Kati says:

    Made this tonight and ZERO leftovers remained from me my husband and our 4 & 7 year old boys. Great job! Did not make any alterations to the recipe except to add Siracha to my bowl to kick up the heat a little bit.

  4. Nadya says:

    So I have been put off of Indian curry since I was in Sri Lanka and found out I was pregnant. They eat curry for every meal and I decided I never wanted it again….but I tried this tonight since my hubs loves curry and IT WAS AWESOME. I really enjoyed it! Thanks for this great recipe. I did use less salt and it was perfect.

  5. […] Shrimp Curry- with sauteed […]

  6. Mindy says:

    We made this recipe (with several alterations) and it was AMAZING! We sautéed the spices in coconut oil and put in some veggies, carrot, sweet potatoe, peas, and handful of Swiss chard minutes befor serving. If I had zucchini or cauliflower I would have added those also. We used shrimp and Nantucket bay scallops. Like I said, AMAZING. We were so pleased with ourselves!

  7. Erica says:

    I was needing some inspiration tonight, and I noticed we had some shrimp in the freezer. I remembered a photo on Facebook of a friend scarfing shrimp curry in Mexico. A quick search brought me here (I’ve never been) and LO AND BEHOLD, for ONCE I had every ingredient (including coconut milk I’d bought last year on sale and regretted).

    This combo is superb–the addition of the marinating juices brought the bite up to just the right pitch. Some saffron rice, this creamy addition on top, and voila! A nice surprising change for my husband and me. I personally only had a cup of home-canned tomatoes, and we found that just right.

  8. Tiffiny says:

    Oh Mel, where do I even begin with this dish…Amazing, mouth-watering, simply delicious. I made this last night for dinner. It’s super easy and super tasty. As I was eating it I thought, “I need to comment about this right now!” But then I realized that stopping to write a comment would interrupt my putting more of this scrumptious meal into my mouth! I couldn’t stand the thought of temporarily stopping, so I decided comments would have to wait. When I was done, I promptly licked the bowl and then got a couple more spoonfuls. You don’t need the rice, but it adds nice texture. I took leftovers in my lunch today, too! Sadly, my plastic container is too deep for me to lick the bowl. Please note that I found out it was too deep AFTER I tried licking it. But since I’m sitting at a desk, in an office, that may be for the best.

    Next to the rustic crusty bread, I’ve decided this the best thing I’ve ever made from your blog. While I was making it, I took a little taste of the mixture before I added the coconut milk. It was even really good at that point. If I’m ever looking to lighten things up, I may skip the coconut milk sometime and add chicken stock instead. Also, for anyone who doesn’t like coconut milk, I bet using some half and half would work too. You made a note about the salt, and as I measured out a tablespoon I looked at it and got really scared. So I decided to only use half and add more later if needed. But I was happy with the results and didn’t add more. I can’t say enough about this dish. The spice comb is awesome and there’s a lovely amount of heat, too. I loved it and can’t wait to make it again.

  9. Rebecca says:

    Yumminess!!!!! We backed the salt to 1 tsp and upped the cayenne to 1/4 tsp. Amazing!!!! Thanks so much!!!

  10. Rebecca says:

    forgot to say, also used Hot Madras curry powder and 2 pounds of shrimp. We like it spicy!!!!

  11. […] curry came out really well.  A mix of my own creation and this recipe. […]

  12. Mariam Asaad says:

    I wanted to amp up the spice factor and so added 3-4 crushed red chillies to the mix. Along with the black peppers…mmmm!

  13. I am ordering this now for Mother’s Day. it’s the least I can do for me. 🙂

  14. Mariam says:

    I made this–didn’t have the coriander or cilantro and added some crushed red chillies–was absolutely delicious! Going to make it again tonight with all the right ingredients. Ready for some yumindulgence!

  15. angie says:

    I made this last night for Mother’s Day. We loved it:))))))

  16. leslie says:

    This was incredible! I added a red bell pepper too and it was still delicious! I’m thinking once zucchini and squash pop up in the garden, I’ll throw that in the mix too 🙂

  17. Theresa Orison says:

    This was very delicious!

  18. Valerie says:

    I made this curry tonight, and while it tasted fine, I think I expected a sweeter flavor from a coconut curry as well as a thicker consistency to the sauce. I looked at the stir fry recipe you referred to and saw it includes a bit of brown sugar, cornstarch, and red curry paste, so maybe I can try adding those, and cutting the salt and lemon a bit to sweeten and thicken it. I’m not complaining, just noting if anyone is expecting a sweeter flavor that this recipe is more on the tangy side.

  19. Julianne says:

    I don’t think I’ve commented on this, but this is one of my very favorite meals from this website! I’ve used both lite and full-fat coconut milk. Both are just great, but my husband and I both agree that the full-fat coconut milk gives it a very subtle sweetness, which goes so well with the curry spice. But either one is perfectly perfect. This is a great, great meal. Leftovers for lunch are the best. Thank you!

  20. aqngie says:

    another fabulous recipe:)

  21. Christopher says:

    Tried this with chicken tonight. Followed the recipe exactly as the shrimp version (which my family loved) but the chicken ended up being dry, sort of flavorless. Not sure what I should have done extra or different to fix that.

  22. Scott says:

    Sweetened or unsweetened coconut milk?

  23. Rosie says:

    I have made this multiple times and absolutely love it. I have made a chicken version and it turned out great but I personally prefer shrimp. The last couple of times I made this I didn’t have lemons so I used limes and it tastes just as good.

  24. Alexa says:

    This is probably my favorite recipe on the site. Okay, hands down my favorite. I subbed mustard powder for the turmeric and used about 3/4 tbsp of salt and it was perfect. Unfortunately, my mom can’t stand Indian food and my brother isn’t a fan of shrimp. More for me, I guess! I served this with white rice and it tasted delicious alongside the curry!

  25. Amy P says:

    This was delicious! I made it with chicken instead of shrimp. I stayed at my in-laws for a couple weeks and made it again there for 8 adults and three kids; everyone loved it. Mild enough for the kids but flavourful enough for the adults. Make sure to get (garlic) naan bread to go with!

  26. Denise says:

    Made this tonight and it was INCREDIBLE! My husband and Dad complimented it the entire time they were eating and continued to compliment it even after dinner. Wonderful combination of flavors, just the right amount of bite, and not too creamy. Thank you!

  27. Judson says:

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly

  28. Logan says:

    Made this last night and we loved it! My husband actually exclaimed out loud how good it was. If you knew him you would know how incredibly rare that is! We use your recipes weekly and we love curry so I’m not sure why we haven’t tried this until now!! But now it will be in the rotation for sure!

  29. Gin says:

    My husband and I love this but we were wondering what size can of coconut milk do you use?

  30. Elizabeth says:

    This is on my menu for the week and am so excited to try it! I would like to add some vegetables to it- just to make it a little heartier. How do you think that would taste? Carrots, broccoli, zucchini?

    • Mel says:

      Elizabeth – sounds like a great idea! I think cauliflower or broccoli or really any of the veggies you mentioned would work well. Good luck! Cauliflower is my favorite one to pair with curry dishes.

  31. Anne says:

    Tried this recipe tonight! To say it was delicious is an understatement!! My hubby and I both loved it! This has definitely made our rotation. We can’t wait to try more from your website. Thank you for sharing your awesome recipes!!!

  32. Cindy says:

    Another awesome recipe from Mel! Only change I made was to add some coconut flakes before serving. It was delish! Thanks Mel!

  33. Julie says:

    This is the first time I’ve commented on one of your recipes. I’ve made several of your recipes with great success but this coconut curry shrimp was awful! I consider myself a pretty good cook and followed your recipe exactly but it had a bad taste and ended up in the trash. Very disappointing.

  34. Erin says:

    This was excellent. My three-year-old son really enjoyed it as well. I’m putting it into the rotation.

    I made it with chicken because I didn’t have shrimp in the freezer. I just cut the chicken into small bites and cooked it in the curry sauce as it simmered.

  35. Laura says:

    I just made this tonight, and my husband is in heaven! He actually knows of your website, because I make recipes from it commonly 🙂 Whenever I’m making something new, and he hears it is from you, he will say “I do trust Mel’s kitchen cafe!” Thank you for another winner of a recipe!

  36. Sheila says:

    I really hate bothering such a busy, hard working lady with inexperienced cooking questions, but still after reading through this post and comments do not have an understanding about the curry powder. I have sweet yellow curry powder and a red curry powder. I’m assuming from looking closely at the picture that you used the yellow curry powder??? Neither one of mine say “hot” on the label. I never used curry until I found your blog. That is when I mistakenly brought the red for a recipe and discovered I needed the yellow. Did you use the yellow for this recipe?

    • Mel says:

      Sheila – you are never bothering me, I promise! Curry powder can be a bit confusing – there are so many types. For this recipe, I use the sweet curry powder blend from Penzey’s spices. I think it is similar to the yellow variety of curry powder on the market (but it isn’t the same as the yellow Hot Madras curry powder out there, if that makes sense). In short, I think the sweet yellow curry powder you have would be the one I recommend for this dish!

  37. Rebecca says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!! We make it all the time (with a little less red pepper flake, for the kids), and it’s always a hit. I could drink it, it’s that good! Best curry I’ve ever had!
    I will say, it’s important to use good curry powder! We use the Maharajah from Penzey’s. Amazing!

  38. Barry says:

    Far too salty for anyone to eat. Do not put any salt in this recipe unless you want to throw it out and start over.

  39. Barbara says:

    Your curry posts are some of our favorites! I made this last night following a few suggestions from other posters, and added in a boatload of fresh vegetables, including zucchini, crookneck squash and cauliflower. I did add about another 1/4 cup of coconut milk because initially it looked like with all of those vegetables in there it wouldn’t have a good broth ratio. In hindsight it wasn’t necessary, but it certainly didn’t hurt anything, and extended it to make that much more for left-overs, which we Love. It was really, really lovely!

  40. Crystal says:

    This recipe was delicious!!!
    Anyone know the calorie count?

  41. Dawn says:

    We LOVED this recipe! So much flavor and the 1/8 tsp on cayenne gave it a touch of spice. The only change I made after reading the reviews was I only used 1/2 tsp salt instead of 1 Tablespoon salt and it was perfect. Using 1 Tablespoon of salt would of ruined it for me.

  42. Lindsay says:

    I made this tonight and it was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! My 8 year old daughter who loves to learn to cook also made it right along side me, so thank you for a wonderful meal!! I’m also thrilled because I have a new fab dish to make my friends when we have company!

  43. Cristy says:

    First, I love all of your recipes. My husband absolutely loved this one and I loved it too, but am a total spicy wimp. Mine turned out really spicy. Maybe the curry powder? Even though I feel like I used this curry powder before in other recipes without noticing it being over spicy. Is coriander or turmeric spicy (I haven’t used them before this recipe)? Just wondering if I could cut back on either of those or just find another curry powder…

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t found that turmeric and coriander are spicy. It seems that it would have to be because of the curry powder. What brand are you using?

  44. Sharill says:

    Dear Mel:

    I was craving an Indian inspired dish and I stumbled across your recipe. I made your recipe tonight (with half the salt) and put the curry on a bed of basmati rice. All I can say is when I took my first bite, my taste buds were jumping up and down with joy! 🙂 Overall the recipe is healthy and I used light coconut milk to make it healthier. Thank you for sharing your tasty recipe!

  45. Annie says:

    Great recipe! Did some very minor tweaking to suit the various tastebuds around the table, the kinds of things any cook does. Simple to make, and everyone loved it. Thanks! I also made your curry popcorn cauliflower to go with it–another huge hit. We’re fans of roasted cauliflower to begin with; adding a sprinkling of curry powder put the flavor over the top.

  46. Ken says:

    What a GREAT recipe! I was trying to re-create one of my favorite restaurant dishes and ended up with something even better. I made it with a pound of shrimp and a pound of chicken. Perfect. Also added some shredded carrot. Next time I will add more carrot and perhaps some other veggie that is on hand. The flavor profile was perfect. Looking forward to leftovers tonight. I will add a ribbon of Thai Peanut sauce to finish off my plate (like the restaurant dish does). Can’t wait to make this for my boys when they visit from out of town.

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