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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.

Easy Thai Shrimp Curry

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


  • 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)


  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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  • Recipe rating: 4 Stars
    I had to add 1 tbsp of the “Thai Kitchen” brand green curry paste to make a flavourful curry taste. I’m not a lover of spicy curries, but needed the extra flavour in this recipe.
    Also- next time I make this recipe I will replace the Coconut Milk with Coconut Cream to give the liquid a bit more thickness and coconut flavour.
    I paired this curry with a commercial blend of wild rice and Jasmine rice- I prefer the nutty taste & texture that the wild rice brings, and it lowers the carb count a bit, which helps if you’re diabetic or trying to lose weight.
    Lastly: I very much enjoy reading the recipes that “Once Upon A Chef” sends me, but have only recently been trying them out.

    • — Bill Mundy on November 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is a restaurant-quality dish that can be served to company or family. I added carrots and red and green peppers at the beginning. I substituted Mae Ploy Red Curry paste. Delicious!

    • — Phyllis on October 29, 2023
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  • This recipe is perfect! I am didn’t have rice but I had rice noodles so I used those instead which didn’t change the flavor of the dish. I followed everything else perfectly and this dish was bowl lickably good! I had to talk myself out of eating another portion. That’s how good it is.

    • — Leslie on September 11, 2023
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  • Bravo. Nailed it. Guests went home with this recipe too this evening. Thank you.

    • — Colleen on August 31, 2023
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  • This was a delightfully flavorful and fragrant dish! As always, your recipes never disappoint!! Question: If I want more heat in the curry, do I increase the green curry paste?

    • — Tina on August 14, 2023
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    • Hi Tina, so glad you enjoyed it! I wouldn’t add more curry paste as that would throw off the ratios in the sauce. To add more heat, you could either add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, dried red pepper flakes, or a bit of Sriracha to the sauce.

      • — Jenn on August 15, 2023
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  • Made this last night and it was a hit with my family! Bursting with flavour and just the right amount if heat. Definitely make this again and again.

    • — Barbi on July 26, 2023
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  • Wow! We really enjoyed it, very very tasty, easy to follow instructions as usual, thank you so much for the recipe. I will be making it again

    • — Jill C on July 21, 2023
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  • Wow! We really enjoyed it, very very tasty, thank you

    • — Jill C on July 21, 2023
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  • This recipe was amazing and tasted very authentic! I also loved how easy it was to make and how accessible the ingredients were to find at my local Wal-Mart. I added sugar snap peas, bell pepper, carrots, and a diced fresh tomato to mine. I have already forwarded this recipe to several friends!! 10/10!

    • — Brooke on June 17, 2023
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    • Hello, I think it’s a good idea to add veggies. At what stage did you add yours?

      • — Anna on August 4, 2023
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  • The sauce is divine. We’ve made this recipe several times, adding veggies, and it’s always excellent. Last night’s version included fresh book Chou and red bell pepper.

    • — Robert S L on June 16, 2023
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  • Yet another Jenn recipe win. This is very easy for a weeknight. I made the rice (basmati, not jasmine) in the morning in my instant pot so that was easy. Cut the onions garlic shallots (and I added thin sliced carrots too) while the shrimp defrosted. I thought the green curry sauce might be too spicy but it was totally fine for our taste. I didn’t have fish sauce so I threw in some soy sauce instead. I will buy fish sauce for next time. Next time I might throw in some sliced red peppers or broccoli florets but it was easy and tasted great as is. I might serve with grilled pineapple. Super easy and yummy. I will make this again. Easy enough to show my son or husband. Thank you!!

    • — Chithra Baylis on June 6, 2023
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  • This recipe was so easy to make and absolutely delicious!! I used the Thai Kitchen green curry paste and only used 2Tbsp since I don’t like hot/spicy food. It wasn’t hot at all, so next time I’ll use the recommended 2.5 Tbsps. Thanks for all your great recipes Jenn! I use them often and am never disappointed.

    • — Kelly Johnson on June 5, 2023
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  • This is friggin awesome!
    I just made this recipe for the third time, and it is delicious!
    I love it and my girlfriend loves it. I highly recommend it.

    • — Mike R on May 17, 2023
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  • 10/10 ! & the spoon of sugar is the secret !

    • — Sara on May 3, 2023
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  • I made this for dinner last night and it was absolutely delicious!!! I didn’t change a thing and my husband who always said he didn’t like anything with curry raved about it! Yes, I did tell him there was curry paste in the dish.😉

    • — Maureen Christian on April 23, 2023
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  • Amazing! Tried the recipe as is and we all loved it! Full of flavour and easy to make.
    Thank you!

    • — Marisa on April 2, 2023
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  • Delicious! Used whole can of green curry paste and low fat coconut milk. Shallots instead of onions and cooked shallots, garlic, added ginger, and most of scallions, added slivered yellow peppers and a few (whole) thai red chilis. Sauteed all then added curry paste for a few, then coconut milk, water, prob less than 2 TB fish sauce and added slivered carrots. Let simmer. Removed 2 of 3 thai chilis. Added shrimp and remaining scallions when ready to eat, then lots of fresh basil and cilantro and lime juice. Served over rice, with sauteed bok choy on the side. Versatile recipe. Would add mushrooms in future, too. Spicy, but so flavorful. Yum!

    • — Ruth on March 9, 2023
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  • This recipe is wonderful! I have been to Thailand and felt as if I was there as this recipe tastes just like I was in a restaurant there! Uust as good as any American Thai restaurant here so “thumbs up” M

    • — Meri Dworkin on March 6, 2023
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  • Amazing and quick dish. Cut it back a bit for the two of us. Used cook shrimp so only had to warm them through. Only had red Thai chili paste and used some lemon balm as garnish along with fresh home grown basil. Will make again.

    • — Peter Nijssen on February 28, 2023
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  • I made this for dinner guests last night and it was resounding hit. I made the recipe exactly as Jenn wrote it and the flavors were wonderful. One of my guests is a die hard meat and potatoes fan but at the end of the meal he asked for a spoon so he could get every last drop of the delicious sauce. Thank you so much Jenn.

    • — Kim Furzer on February 23, 2023
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  • Lovely combination of flavours – very similar to a Thai mussel recipe I thoroughly enjoy.

    Thank you

    • — Garratt MacMillan on January 22, 2023
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  • This recipe is very good . I made a brown rice to accompany this dish .

    • — Gary skibinski on January 10, 2023
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  • 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
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    • 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
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  • 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?

    • — Ellen on August 15, 2022
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    • 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
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      • The recipe calls for green curry…

        • — Amy on August 4, 2023
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  • 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
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  • 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
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    • Yep!

      • — Jenn on August 4, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi I saw it said to use coconut milk if you are allergic to coconut what would be a good substitute that would work.

        • — Sierra on October 25, 2022
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        • Hi Sierra, You can use heavy cream or half and half — it won’t have that authentic Thai taste but will still be delicious!

          • — Jenn on October 26, 2022
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  • 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
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  • Followed the recipe exactly, definitely a keeper! Delicious!!

    • — Wendy on May 5, 2022
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  • “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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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    • 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
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  • Is it possible to use frozen already cooked shrimp for this? If so- how would the instructions change? Thanks!

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

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

        • — Lauren on January 5, 2022
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        • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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.

  • This was delicious! I will be making it again. Maybe even better the second night.

  • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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!!

  • 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!

  • This was a hit! I added some green peppers and might add some carrots next time.

    • — Kelly Guenther
    • 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- I would challenge you to find one of her recipes that isn’t gold. The only time I have made a recipe from Once Upon a Chef and been less than blown away by how amazing it was is when I questioned her quantities and made adjustments or made substitutions. Her cookbooks are amazing too. Since your husband likes to cook you should get him one of Jenn’s cookbooks for a holiday or birthday gift, then you can enjoy more of her recipes and not have to cook them! Though I will say I’ve really grown to love cooking so much more since I started using Jenn’s recipes- she makes cooking feel therapeutic instead of chaotic. As written her recipes produce amazing meals consistently.

      • — Shannon C on November 12, 2022
      • 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!

    • 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!

  • Excellent curry. Added red bell pepper and served on cauliflower rice and ~ 1 tsp red pepper flakes for some heat.

    Will make again!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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. 🙂

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