Shrimp Curry with Tomatoes

Here’s another recipe from August when I was trying my best to use up the flood of tomatoes coming in from my plot at the community garden. In this case, I also had on hand a few pounds of excellent Gulf shrimp purchased from a seafood truck that drives up from Texas to the midwest every summer. Normally, I would have made malai curry with shrimp this good but, as I said, I had a metric tonne of tomatoes to use up. And so I pulled together a relatively basic shrimp curry. Relatively, because two ingredients give the curry extra depth and bite, respectively: dessicated coconut and Sichuan peppercorn. The heat comes mostly from the black peppercorn in the spice mix, with a Kashmiri chilli [affiliate link] used more for colour. It’s a simple recipe that comes together quickly and delivers great flavour for a weeknight or weekend meal.


  • 1.5 lbs large deveined, shell-on shrimp, marinated for 30 minutes with a big pinch of salt and 1/2 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and thickly sliced
  • 2 lbs tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tspn freshly pounded garlic
  • 1 tspn freshly pounded ginger
  • 3 tblspns dessicated coconut dry-roasted over medium-low heat till evenly browned and cooled
  • The following ground to a coarse powder with the cooled dry-roasted coconut: 1″ piece cinnamon/cassia bark; 2 tspns coriander seed; 1 tspn zeera/cumin seed; 1/2 tspn methi/fenugreek seed; 1 tspn black peppercorn; 3/4 tspn Sichuan peppercorn; 1 large dried Kashmiri chillli
  • 1/2 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • 2 cups hot water, fresh off the boil
  • 2+2 tblspns of neutral oil
  • 2 tblspns chopped dhania/cilantro


  1. Heat 2 tblspns of oil in a deep pan over medium heat and when it shimmers add the marinated shrimp.
  2. Stir-fry the shrimp till it has completely changed colour; remove to a plate or bowl and hold.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tblspns of oil over medium heat in the same pan and add the sliced onions.
  4. Saute till the onions have softened and begun to turn a light brown.
  5. Add the ginger and garlic, mix in and saute till the raw aroma is gone.
  6. Add the ground spices, haldi and salt, mix in and saute for another minute or so.
  7. Add the tomatoes, mix in and saute, stirring often till the tomatoes have broken down completely and there’s a thick, aromatic sludge in the pan, with the oil beginning to separate.
  8. Add the hot water, mix in and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or so or till it begins to thicken and the oil starts separating again.
  9. Add the sauteed shrimp back to the pan, mix in, cover, and cook at a simmer for another 7-10 minutes.
  10. Uncover, mix the cilantro in and serve with rice.


  • If you insist on making this hotter, you can add a few slit Thai chillies before covering the pan or add some hot chilli powder along with the haldi and the ground masala.
  • If you want to extend the dish a bit you could add some potato. Peel and dice a large potato and saute the pieces in the pan after you’ve sauteed the shrimp, till half-cooked. Then return them to the pan alongside the shrimp before the last bit of cooking.
  • Yes, there’s a Reel.








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