This recipe for Coconut Curry Shrimp is all about minimal ingredients with BIG flavor. Easy and versatile, serve this shrimp curry over rice for a wildly delicious weeknight dinner.
Why You'll Love this Coconut Curry Shrimp:
Get ready to be blown away by the flavor of this streamlined shrimp curry. By leaning on high-impact ingredients like curry paste and fish sauce, this meal boasts BIG flavor with minimal effort. It's perfect for weeknight cooking, and is super versatile.
For example, if you're not a seafood eater, swap the shrimp for tofu or chicken. Not a fan of bok choy? Use broccoli florets instead! The real magic lies in the sauce, which packs a serious umami punch.
I love serving this coconut curry shrimp over rice (Jasmine or Basmati) with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. It reheats beautifully, which makes it 100% meal prep-friendly. Basically, there is very little NOT to love about this dish, and I have a feeling it will become a staple.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Shrimp: For streamlined prep, look for shrimp that are already peeled and deveined (or at least deveined and easy peel). Also, many are surprised to find out that the best shrimp are often in the freezer case. Usually what’s behind the seafood case was previously frozen anyway, so you can often get a better deal by purchasing frozen, and thawing on your own.
- Red Curry Paste: This flavor-loaded condiment is made out of red chiles, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and kaffir lime. It’s incredibly aromatic, and packs a major punch. I use Thai Kitchen brand, which you can find in the international aisle of pretty much any grocery store.
- Fish Sauce: If you're not familiar, fish sauce is a fermented condiment typically made from anchovies with a super savory, umami punch. A little goes a LONG way in terms of saltiness and funky flavor, however it really creates the aromatic backbone of this dish. Red Boat is my favorite brand--truly, nothing compares!
- Veggies: This is where you can switch up the recipe to your liking! I like using red onion, red bell pepper, and bok choy, however mushrooms and broccoli are also top contenders.
- Coconut Milk: For luscious, velvety richness, canned coconut milk gives this shrimp curry major body. If you’re looking for a lower saturated fat alternative, homemade cashew cream also works great!
- Basil: For a fresh lift, stir in fresh chopped basil at the end of cooking. I also like to reserve a few leaves for garnish, which adds a beautiful pop of color.
- For Serving: Serve this coconut curry shrimp over rice, rice noodles, or even cauliflower rice for a lower carb alternative.
Step 1: Sauté the Shrimp
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add half of the shrimp; cook 2 minutes on each side or until opaque. Remove from pan; and repeat with second half of shrimp. Transfer second half of shrimp the plate with remaining sautéed shrimp. Season shrimp with ¼ tsp. salt.
Return skillet to medium-high.
Step 2: Sauté the Vegetables, Garlic, and Curry Paste
Add another Tablespoon of oil to pan, along with bell pepper, red onion, and bok choy (or broccoli). Cook vegetables for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until soft.
Next, add garlic and red curry paste. Cook 2 more minutes, until aromatic. Season mixture with remaining ¼ tsp. salt.
Step 3: Simmer Coconut Curry Sauce
Add coconut milk, broth, and fish sauce to pan, and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes, until sauce reduces and thickens.
Step 4: Add Shrimp and Basil to Sauce
Stir in basil and shrimp, and cook 1 to 2 additional minutes to heat shrimp through. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Step 5: Serve over Rice or Rice Noodles
Spoon coconut curry shrimp over rice or rice noodles, and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If desired, garnish with additional fresh basil leaves.
If you don't eat shellfish, fear not! You can simply swap the shrimp for tofu, chicken, or even chickpeas. Here is how:
- Tofu Curry:
- Wrap one block of extra-firm tofu in a clean kitchen towel and press on all sides to remove as much moisture as possible. Alternatively, you can set something heavy on top (such as a cast iron skillet), and let it press for about 15 to 20 minutes, or even longer for firmer tofu. Slice tofu into cubes.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet (preferably non-stick) over medium-high. Once hot, add tofu cubes and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning to cook all sides, until golden and crispy. Add crispy tofu to coconut curry sauce after the sauce is simmered/reduced.
- Chicken Curry:
- Cut 1 lb. of boneless, skinless breasts or thighs into small, bite-size pieces. Place chicken in a gallon-sized zip-top bag, and add 3 Tbsp. corn starch and ¼ tsp. salt; toss to coat.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add chicken and sauté until golden and cooked-through, about 8 minutes. Add chicken to coconut curry sauce after the sauce is simmered/reduced.
- Chickpea Curry:
- Drain and rinse 1 can of chickpeas. Add chickpeas to coconut curry sauce after the sauce is simmered/reduced.
Tips for Purchasing Shrimp:
- Buy Frozen. Since I live in a landlocked state without access to freshly caught shrimp, I prefer to buy shrimp frozen. Since it’s flash-frozen promptly after being caught, it is often better quality (for a better price) than what's sitting in the seafood case. Buying frozen also gives you greater control over the defrosting process, since you can cook them immediately afterwards.
- Look for raw (not precooked) shrimp that is deveined and either EZ-peel or already peeled. Deveining shrimp is a tedious, rather unsettling task, if you ask me!
- Size Matters. Instead of looking at descriptors like “medium” or “jumbo,” which can vary from one purveyor to another, pay attention to the count per pound. I prefer large or jumbo shrimp for most sautés and stir-fries, which measure at 31-35 / lb or 16-20 / lb.
How to Store and Reheat:
- Store: Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Reheat: Gently reheat leftovers in a medium skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Alternatively, reheat individual portions in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until warm.
More of the Best Shrimp Recipes for Dinner:
30 Minute Greek Shrimp Grain Bowls
Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
One Pot Harissa Shrimp and Feta Orzo
If you give this recipe a try, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
Easy Coconut Curry Shrimp
- Large skillet
- 2 Tbsp. cooking oil, divided (olive, canola, or vegetable oil)
- 1 lb. large peeled and deveined raw shrimp*
- ½ tsp. salt, divided
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced (sub yellow onion)
- 6 oz. baby bok choy, halved or quartered lengthwise (sub broccoli florets)
- 2 Tbsp. red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (13.5-oz.) can coconut milk (full-fat)
- ½ cup lower sodium vegetable broth
- 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil leaves plus more for garnish
- Cooked white rice (or rice noodles) for serving
- Fresh lime wedges for serving
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add half of the shrimp; cook 2 minutes on each side or until opaque. Remove from pan; and repeat with second half of shrimp. (If needed, drizzle more oil on the pan for the second batch.)Transfer shrimp to a clean plate and season with ¼ tsp. salt.
- Add remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil to pan, along with bell pepper, red onion, and bok choy (or broccoli). Cook vegetables for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until tender. Stir in red curry paste and garlic; cook 2 more minutes, until aromatic. Season mixture with remaining ¼ tsp. salt.
- Add coconut milk, broth, and fish sauce to pan; bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes, until sauce reduces and slightly thickens.
- Stir in basil and sautéed shrimp; cook 1 to 2 additional minutes--just long enough to rewarm shrimp. Spoon mixture over rice (or rice noodles), and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If desired, garnish with additional fresh basil leaves.
This is delicious! Is there a possible substitute for the Thai red chili sauce so my 8 month olds can enjoy the sauce (with very soft veggies and minced shrimp)? We are aiming to feed them mostly what we eat to expose them to lots of flavors and textures but I worry the sauce is just a bit too spicy for their table skills - sauce ends up in eyes sometimes!.
Hi Kristin! The Thai Curry Paste does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of flavor in this recipe... You could try using just curry powder and a little tomato paste instead, but unfortunately you're not going to get quite the same flavor profile. Hope that helps!
AMAZING!!!! Also very easy. Will be making this often! Thank you for the recipe!
Hi Laura, I'm so glad the recipe was a hit for you! Thanks for taking the time to leave a rating and review.
Absolutely delicious! We did a quick barbecue of the shrimp, leaning to the barely cooked side, then threw them in the sauce at the end as directed.This is so flavourful and yummy, next time I will add twice as much bok choy to up the greens:) Had it on jasmine rice....this is so good, recommend highly! It’s a tiny bit labour intensive as it all goes together but well worth it.Thanks for another great way to use red Thai curry paste.
Hi Janet- I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review.
I tried this with both shrimp and tofu. Like Jamie says, the real magic lies in the sauce. Absolutely wonderful and enjoyable dish.