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Thai Shrimp Curry

Thai shrimp curry is made in one pot in under 30 minutes. Tender succulent shrimp and vegetables in a spicy, rich coconut green curry sauce.

The Thai curry is delicious served over jasmine rice to soak up the sauce. And you can cut down on the vegetables if you like to make it even quicker.

thai shrimp curry on rice on plate

Although the list of ingredients seems long, this dish is very simple to prepare. The trick is to have everything prepped and ready to go right by the skillet. Then it’s just a matter of adding ingredients step by step.  

The coconut milk makes the dish rich and creamy even though it’s dairy (and lactose) free. The vegetables are completely versatile.

And the curry is as hot and spicy as you want to make it. The recipe is quite hot (for me) but many would call me a wimp when it comes to spiciness. So taste and adjust as you like.

What to serve with Thai shrimp curry

I like to keep it simple with just the Thai curry over jasmine rice. Or basmati or long grain rice. For a lower calorie and carb alternative, try lemon herb cauliflower rice instead.

If you want to add a bit of flare, serve side dishes of Thai Mango salad and some spring rolls with the Thai shrimp.

thai shrimp curry on rice on plate 1

FAQ – Good to Know

Is there a difference between shrimp and prawns?

Yes. They are actually two distinct animals. Prawns live in fresh water. Shrimp live in salt water. They are very similar, though, in taste and texture. Nowadays, prawns are often referred to as large shrimp and used interchangeably. People from the UK, New Zealand and Australia tend to refer to prawns as opposed to people in the US who refer more often to shrimp.

Are shrimp healthy?

Yes, they are low in calories and an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B12, and iron. The do contain higher cholesterol, but this is outweighed by the many other healthy benefits. Source: Healthline.

What kind of shrimp should I buy?

For this dish, buy large or medium shrimp. The number on the package refers to how many shrimp in a pound. Large shrimp would be 16-20 (per pound/450g). The higher the number, the smaller the shrimp. Frozen shrimp are safer and usually ‘fresher’ as they are frozen immediately after being caught. Choosing wild caught or farmed is a personal preference. Wild caught such as Argentine shrimp have a shrimp-ier stronger taste.

What is the difference between green and red curry paste?

The color! 🙂 Thai green curry paste gets its color from coriander roots and green chilis. Red curry paste is made with dry red chilis (and sometimes chili powder). Green curry paste tends to be hotter, but the heat for both can be adjusted based on the amount used.

How to make Thai shrimp curry

shrimp, garlic, green curry paste, veggies, cilantro, spinach, coconut milk, green onion
Ingredients: raw shrimp, garlic, lime zest, onion, green curry paste, julienne or sliced veggies, cilantro, baby spinach, coconut milk, green onion, sugar. (optional fish sauce).
onion, green curry paste and garlic in pan
Saute onions in a large pan until translucent. Add green curry paste and garlic.
pan with coconut milk, veggies, curry
Next add the coconut milk, water, sugar, peppers, carrots and lime zest. 
curry sauce and veggies in pan
Simmer for a few minutes.
shrimp and spinach in curry sauce in pan
Add baby spinach, mushrooms, green onions and raw shrimp. 
finished thai shrimp curry in pan
Cover and simmer coconut shrimp curry 3-4 minutes until shrimp are cooked through (just until they become opaque).
thai shrimp curry on rice on plate p2
Garnish with fresh cilantro, Thai basil, parsley and/or lime wedges (or a squeeze of lime juice).

Tailor To Your Taste

As always, there are several variations and substitutes you can try.

Vegetables and Herbs

  • I typically use red bell pepper, baby spinach, carrots and enoki mushrooms.
  • Other good choices are bok choy, snow peas, broccoli, edamame beans, bean sprouts.
  • Herb choices are cilantro, parsley or basil.

Vegetarian version

  • Make a Thai curry vegetarian version by adding more vegetables or tofu and omitting the shrimp. One great option is to add 1/2 inch cubes of butternut squash. Simmer them for 10-15 minutes in the coconut broth.

Green curry paste

  • If you want to step it up a notch, you can make your own 3 Minute Green Curry Paste. It’s so fresh and vibrant. The hardest part is gathering the ingredients. I suggest making double and freezing half.

Shrimp options

  • I tend to use large shrimp (16-20 size), but medium shrimp are fine too. Just remember to adjust the cooking time. Smaller shrimp take only 2-3 minutes to cook.
  • Feel free to substitute cooked chicken for the shrimp.

Shortcuts

  • Buy shrimp that are peeled and deveined. A bit more expensive, but worth the convenience if you can splurge.
  • Reduce the number of vegetables you use to limit the slicing or chopping. For example, try matchstick carrots (which you can buy) and prewashed baby spinach and call it a day. You still need onions or green onions for flavor though.

Make Ahead

  • If you’re making this for company – and it’s definitely company-worthy – you can complete the dish all the way up to the last 5 minutes when the last few ingredients, including the shrimp, are simmered.
  • Even though it’s best fresh, I still love leftovers the next day, warmed for a minute in the microwave.

Other Thai dishes to love

thai shrimp curry on rice on plate
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Thai Shrimp Curry

Thai shrimp curry is made in one pot in under 30 minutes. Tender succulent shrimp and vegetables in a spicy, rich coconut green curry sauce. The Thai curry is delicious served over jasmine rice to soak up the sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 4
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion about 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste (or 3 tablespoons if you like it really hot)
  • 14 ounces full fat coconut milk, unsweetened (1 can)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon white or brown sugar or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest (from 2 limes) or 3-4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 1/2 pounds (0.68 kilograms) large or medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined Shortcut: buy peeled and deveined shrimp
  • Garnish: 1/4 cup (4 grams) chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley), Thai basil and/or lime wedges.

Vegetables (Note 1)

  • 1 cup red peppers, thinly sliced (1-2 peppers)
  • 1 carrot, grated or cut into matchsticks (about 1/2 cup/45 grams)
  • 2 cups enoki mushrooms (bottom 2 inches cut off)
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Instructions

  • SAUTE AROMATICS: In a large skillet, heat oil to medium heat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and curry paste and continue to cook for 1 minute.
  • START SAUCE AND VEGETABLES: Add coconut milk, water, red pepper, carrots, fish sauce (if using), sugar and lime zest. Gently simmer for about 3 minutes.
  • COMPLETE THAI SHRIMP CURRY: Add spinach, mushrooms, green onions and shrimp. Stir to combine. Cover and gently simmer 3-4 minutes (depending on size of shrimp) until shrimp turn pink. Don't overcook shrimp or they will become rubbery. 
  • GARNISH AND SERVE: Garnish with cilantro (or parsley) and lime wedges or a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with jasmine or other rice.

Notes

  1. Vegetables: other options are bok choy, snow peas, broccoli, green beans, edamame beans, mushrooms, bean sprouts. Use about 3.5 – 4 cups (500-600g) chopped vegetables, not including the spinach. 
  2. Other substitutes:
    • Instead of store-bought green curry paste, make your own simple 3 Minute Green Curry Paste.
    • For a vegetarian version, add more vegetables or tofu and omit the shrimp. One great option is to add 1/2 inch/1.27cm cubes of butternut squash. Simmer them for 10-15 minutes in the coconut broth.
    • Instead of shrimp, use chopped cooked chicken instead and just heat through in the last step. 
  3. Make Ahead: You can complete the dish all the way up to the last 5 minutes when the last few ingredients, including the shrimp, are simmered.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Thai Shrimp Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 407 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 22g138%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 214mg71%
Sodium 1010mg44%
Potassium 837mg24%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 7440IU149%
Vitamin C 60mg73%
Calcium 163mg16%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Thai shrimp curry, originally posted in 2017, has now been updated with new information and pictures.

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