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Easy Thai Shrimp Curry

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In this quick Thai-style shrimp curry, plump shrimp are simmered in a coconut sauce infused with aromatics and green curry paste.

This Thai-style shrimp curry is made by simmering plump shrimp in a fragrant coconut curry sauce infused with aromatics and fresh herbs. It’s quick and easy to make. In fact, if you keep shrimp in the freezer and a few Thai staples – like canned coconut milk, green curry paste, and fish sauce – in the pantry, you’re never more than 25 minutes away from this satisfying meal. There’s plenty of sauce if you’d like to add some vegetables to round out the meal; carrots, bell peppers or snap peas would all be welcome additions (cook them separately and add them at the end). Serve the curry with jasmine rice for soaking up the plentiful sauce, and be sure to put the rice on first so that everything is ready at the same time. 

What you’ll need to make shrimp curry

thai shrimp curry ingredientsThe recipes calls for a few Thai ingredients that you can find at most large supermarkets:

  • Thai green curry paste: This common Thai ingredient is made from a blend of lemongrass, galangal (a cousin of ginger), cumin, coriander root, Kaffir lime, and hot green chilies to name just a few. I use the Thai Kitchen brand. Note that different brands will have different levels of heat, so you may need more or less depending on the kind you use.
  • Coconut milk: Be sure to buy full-fat coconut milk as opposed to low-fat, which often contains many additives. Don’t worry if the coconut milk looks solidified or separated when you open the can; it can be added to the recipe “broken” and whisked back together into a creamy emulsion.
  • Fish sauce: This is a dark, pungent liquid used in Southeast Asian cooking. Contrary to what you might expect, it doesn’t have a “fishy” taste, but rather a salty, savory flavor. If possible, buy a brand imported from Thailand or Vietnam, and don’t worry about buying a large bottle — it keeps forever.

Step-by-step Instructions

Begin by cooking the onions until soft, about 3 minutes.

stir-frying thinly sliced onions

Add the scallions, garlic and green curry paste.

adding scallions, garlic, and green curry paste to the skillet

Cook a few minutes more.

stir-frying the aromatics

Add the coconut milk, water, fish sauce and brown sugar, and bring to a gentle boil.

adding the coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar to the skillet

Add the shrimp.

Cook until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, then stir in the lime juice and sprinkle with the fresh chopped cilantro.

Spoon into shallow bowls and serve with jasmine rice and lime wedges.

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Thai Shrimp Curry

In this quick Thai-style shrimp curry, plump shrimp are simmered in a coconut sauce infused with aromatics and green curry paste.

Servings: 4 - 6
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts, from 4-5 scallions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2½ tablespoons Thai green curry paste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar
  • 2 pounds large, extra large (26-30 per lb) or jumbo (21-25 per lb) shrimp, peeled and deveined (see note), thawed if frozen
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons), plus more lime wedges for serving
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, Thai basil, or Italian basil (or a combination)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 3 minutes. If the onions start to brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add the scallions, garlic, and green curry paste, and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes more. Add the coconut milk, water, fish sauce, and sugar and bring to a gentle boil. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and sprinkle with the cilantro (or basil). Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve with jasmine rice.
  2. Note: For the shrimp, I recommend buying frozen shrimp labeled “shell split and deveined.” Most shrimp are cleaned and flash frozen shortly after being caught, so the “fresh” shrimp you see in the seafood case at the supermarket are typically thawed frozen shrimp. Who knows how long they've been sitting there, so you’re better off buying frozen shrimp and defrosting it yourself. Come dinnertime, all you have to do is run the shrimp under water to defrost, and then peel.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 299
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Sodium: 1372 mg
  • Cholesterol: 191 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • I’m so confused! The recipe calls for Green curry, not red. I need the milder of the two. Red or Green?

    • — Gerry on August 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Gerry, It despends on the brand, but red curry paste is generally less spicy than green. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on August 22, 2022
      • Reply
  • This was a little too spicy for me. (I’m a wimp!). Can I use the red Thai curry sauce in your chicken recipe instead?
    Thanks,
    Ellen

    • — Ellen on August 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Ellen, sorry you found this to be a little too spicy! If you’re referring to the Thai red chicken curry, the recipe calls for red curry paste already. Let me know if I’m misunderstanding.

      • — Jenn on August 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • This turned out so well! It’s great to have a base green curry recipe in which I can use different ingredients. It was mild enough that my nine year-old would eat it, but I could add more curry as desired. I used half shrimp and half scallops, starting the scallops a couple of minutes before the shrimp.

    • — Shana on August 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! The only uncooked shrimp I can seem to find at my grocery store is deveined and “easy peel”- with the tail on. Can I use this the same way as the shrimp the recipe calls for?

    • — Kay on August 4, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yep!

      • — Jenn on August 4, 2022
      • Reply
  • This came out amazing! I made this along with Jenn’s tangy citrus slaw and some grilled pineapple. Another keeper!

    • — Turtle on May 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Followed the recipe exactly, definitely a keeper! Delicious!!

    • — Wendy on May 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • “A Keeper – 5 Stars” were the first words my husband said after the first taste! Made this for dinner last night. I followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious. I will definitely be making this again .. and again! Thanks for another great recipe Jenn!

    • — Catherine on April 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is the most flavorful, yummy recipe. Have made it multiple times. Want to drink the broth after eating the mussels
    Thank you

    • — Mary on February 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • I loved the concept – but I had to tweak quite a few things. 1) more green curry paste 2) coconut cream instead of milk 3) no water 4) add broccoli + red pepper 5) half the amount of fish sauce 6) Thai basil

    • — Dalia on February 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi I want to make this and I was wondering about the cilantro. I was just wondering because most recipes call for Thai basil and you have used cilantro, my question is is there much of a difference in the taste of the finished dish? By the way, I love cilantro – just wondering before I make it. I had this seafood Thai curry in a real Asian restaurant and it was so good I just want to make it and have it taste so good.

    • — Susan on January 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, I use cilantro as it goes nicely in the dish and is easier to find in most grocery stores. That said, Thai bail would be great here. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2022
      • Reply
  • Is it possible to use frozen already cooked shrimp for this? If so- how would the instructions change? Thanks!

    • — Lauren on January 2, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Lauren, I’d recommend sticking with raw shrimp for this — sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 3, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thank you!

        • — Lauren on January 5, 2022
        • Reply
        • Amazing! I doubled the amount of sauce ingredients and used 3# shrimp. I served steamed broccoli with the curry. I found Thai basil and mixed it with cilantro for topping. I also found coconut chips at Whole Foods and that was a nice crunch added to the top of each bowl for garnish. My husband and parents loved it, as did I. Restaurant quality meal!

          • — Kristine on August 24, 2022
          • Reply
  • Outstanding!!! I added a bit more of the green curry paste bc we like a kick and added thin red pepper strips. Served with jasmine rice and sautéed book choy. This is definitely a keeper.

    • — Karen ONeill on December 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • Outstanding as usual and was able to do prep over the weekend and put together in about 15 minutes after work. I added sliced peppers and added them with the green onions, but you could add any additional vegetable (thinking broccoli or snow peas next time). I made it with diced chicken breast and poached it in the curry like the shrimp. I’ve made this several times and this time, I had no coconut milk (poor planning on my part despite the weekend prep). The interwebs suggested all sort of substitutes. I landed on half plain Greek yogurt and half milk with a splash of heavy cream. I added an extra 1/2tbsp brown sugar and a little more curry paste to make up it and it was delicious. Certainly better with coconut milk but was happy that it was nearly as good. I highly recommend this one and it’s part of our regular rotation.

    • — Elizabeth on November 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was delicious! I will be making it again. Maybe even better the second night.

    • — Kathleen on October 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely loved this easy curry recipe! I changed a few things – I almost doubled the amount of curry paste that was called for, and added 2 medium zucchini’s. I put these in a minute or two after adding the shrimp so they still stayed crunchy. This added a yummy green veggie and crunch. Overall 5/5 recipe!

    • — Anastasia Hall on September 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • This site has been my recipe book ever since I came across Jenn’s cast iron steak method. This one is another winner, quick, easy and absolutely delish! In Jenn I trust.

    • — Dominik Kaminski on August 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • I love all of Jen’s recipes, and this one, for sure. However, having made many Thai recipes I have a few comments about brands that should be used for curry paste, coconut milk and fish sauce. Thai kitchen brand is not on my list.The best curry paste is the brand ‘ Maesri” It comes in a small can- yellow, green and red. Next best brand is “Mae Ploy” but their containers are somewhat large, although it lasts forever. Least favorite brand is “Thai Kitchen” which is what is used here. I used Maesri, so, because it is more intense, would half the quantity and then taste at end to see if you want more heat. When using Coconut Milk the best brand is AROY-D ( not low fat) Lastly the only fish sauce to use is Red Boat fish sauce. I would also hold the brown sugar until the end, taste an see if you think you need any.

    • — Cathy, Guelph, Ontario, Canada on July 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • Definitely agree with you about the Maesri curry paste! Way better flavour than Thai Kitchen and a fraction of the price! I can get it for $1.50 a container, and that’s up here in Canada where everything is more expensive than down south.

      • — Bry on April 21, 2022
      • Reply
    • I agree!! I am in western Australia and my local Thai restaurant which makes amazing food and is always booked out uses ‘Maesri’. I know this because I was on my way to the loo one evening when we were there and bumped into one of the kitchen staff taking out the garbage/ rubbish and I saw the bin was full of those little cans in all different curry flavours 🙂
      I told my Thai friend about it and she said yes most restaurants and even Thai home cooks use the cans to save time. She also said Maesri are the most popular brand in Thailand and are known for being a small family run business that refused to be bought out by a bigger company.

      Thanks for this comment, looking forward to trying this recipe tomorrow.

      • — Emus C on July 31, 2022
      • Reply
  • I added some fresh mint and it was a whole different level of flavor!!

    • — Betty on June 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is my go to dinner whether it’s to wow guests or just the family. Incredibly easy and delicious. Another winning recipe from a Jenn!

    • — JanM on June 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was a hit! I added some green peppers and might add some carrots next time.

    • — Kelly Guenther on May 24, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this tonight and my hubby’s first word on tasting it was an emphatic “YUM!” This is quite the compliment, since he is our primary cook at home and has worked in a restaurant so he has “skillz” – my cooking is generally competent and pleasant enough, but not often something to celebrate. So I guess this one’s a keeper!!

    Thanks for the recipe, I’m going to do a bit of research on more of what you’ve posted, because something tells me there’s more “gold” around here. *smile*

    • — Mindy T. on April 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I love your recipes and make so many of them! However, I never make the ones that require fish sauce, because even a little bit in food totally turns me off to it (I have tried one or two of yours as well). I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t eat it (I hate sounding so picky!). That being said, I would love to try some of your recipes that call for it. Is there anything you recommend that could replace fish sauce in your recipes and still keep them somewhat authentic? Thank you so much!

    • — Karen on March 10, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, I always encourage people to try the fish sauce, but it sounds like you have and just can’t do it! 🙂 There’s no perfect substitute for fish sauce — you can use soy sauce instead. The dish will lack that authentic Thai taste, but it will still be good!

      • — Jenn on March 10, 2021
      • Reply
  • Excellent curry. Added red bell pepper and served on cauliflower rice and ~ 1 tsp red pepper flakes for some heat.

    Will make again!

    • — RBS on February 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • I so wanted to love this dish…alas I did not. It was far too sweet, the texture of the sauce was unusual, almost like corn starch gravy, (used the exact brand of ingredients, other than my standard brand of fish sauce). I usually give things another chance but this one will go in the out bin.

    • — Anne on February 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I made this recipe as written the first time, and it was delicious! I do agree with Karen, fish sauce – YUCK! Next time I will try it with a dash of soy sauce. I’m going to change it up a bit tonight and use some tilapia filets instead of the shrimp, I think it will be just as delish, it appears to be a versatile recipe! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • — Diane on February 6, 2021
    • Reply
  • Really liked this, and appreciated its simplicity. I do think the right amount of curry paste to add is dependent on brand and personal taste. I used Mae Ploy green curry paste and found it a bit hot at the amount called for. I also thought the dish was on the salty side. I’ll gradually add Red Boat fish sauce next time. Looking at your other curry recipes Jen, I noted that you simmer some of them to thicken them. I was wondering whether that would be good step for this recipe prior to adding the shrimp. The shrimp were perfectly cooked after simmering for 3 to 4 minutes.

    • — LFK on February 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you liked this! And, yes, if you’d like to simmer the sauce a little longer before adding the shrimp, that would be fine.

      • — Jenn on February 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! I’m looking for a new recipe for my husband for Valentine’s Day, and I think he would love this! However, anything I have ever made with fish sauce makes it taste terrible to me. I love your recipes, so I was wondering if I could substitute something else for the fish sauce??? Thank you!

    • — Karen on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, You could replace the fish sauce with soy sauce. The dish won’t have that signature Thai flavor, but it will still be good. 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 4, 2021
      • Reply

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