Sautéed spicy shrimp is so easy and comes together in just 10 minutes. Packed with Indian flavors, these are seared to golden perfection. A recipe worth making and eating, I share all the tips for perfectly juicy and tender shrimp!
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Spicy Sautéed Shrimp
Call it sautéed spicy shrimp or masala shrimp, basically it is shrimp cooked with Indian spices without any sauce. It is big on flavor, of course, but the shrimp in this recipe are cooked just right unlike many other Indian style recipes.
I use some basic Indian ingredients such as ginger, garlic and spices. But ground dried coconut is the key ingredient that makes the difference. It gives a nice golden crust, an incredible flavor and a great tasting dish cooked in about 5 minutes.
Shrimp and Indian spices are such a winning combination. You’ve got to try this. It is so good, but definitely pay attention to the cooking technique. That and the easy masala mixture sets it apart. Talking of coconut and spices, reminds of this delicious fish curry.
Ingredients and Substitutes
Here are the easily available ingredients you need to make this quick masala shrimp recipe.
- Shrimp: Use jumbo raw shrimp with no odor, stored over ice or frozen, about 16 to 25 count per pound. Large size would be 26 to 35 shrimp per pound. Fresh or frozen and thawed is okay. Here is a guide to learn more about how to buy shrimp.
- Shrimp weight: Do weigh the shrimp after peeling. If using raw shrimp with heads-on, then about 35% of weight will be lost after removing the heads. Taking off the shell lowers the weight further by 15%. Check recipe FAQs below for how to thaw and devein shrimp.
- Desiccated coconut: This has a fine texture. You can easily but it online or at an Indian grocery store. Or just grind dried unsweetened coconut flakes.
- Fresh ginger and garlic: Try homemade ginger paste and garlic paste for your Indian recipes. Makes a world of difference. Process it in bulk and freeze as ice cubes.
- Red chili powder: Want it less pungent? Use Kashmiri chili powder.
- Garam masala: Try our popular homemade garam masala.
- Cooking Oil: I use avocado oil, which has a high smoke point. Peanut oil also is ok.
- Ground coriander
- Ground turmeric
- Salt and Pepper
- Garnish: cilantro, green onions, lemon wedges and chopped green chilies
- Dried fenugreek leaves: Optional, but you can add 1 teaspoon of this.
How To Saute Spicy Shrimp in Under 5 Minutes
**Brief overview here. Full recipe is at the end of post.
- Spice mixture: Combine desiccated coconut, ginger, garlic, chili powder, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala, salt and pepper.
- Toss: Pat the shrimp dry and toss to coat well with the masala mixture.
- Cook: Heat oil in a skillet and cook the shrimp in a single layer until they curl slightly and turn just opaque.
- Serve: Garnish with cilantro, green onions and lemon wedges.
- A cast iron skillet will be the best. It gives a nice sear and the non-stick surface helps. You want the masala mixture to stick to the shrimp and not to the pan. If not, use a non stick skillet.
- The cooking time will vary a bit with the size of shrimp and type of skillet used. Cast iron retains heat longer, so you would need to pay attention to cook each side under a minute.
- Do not over cook the shrimp or they will turn rubbery and dry. They should just curl a bit like a ‘c’ shape. If they tightly coil into a circle, they are overcooked.
- Adjust the cooking time as per the size of shrimp. For smaller shrimp lower the overall cooking time by a minute and for colossal shrimp add about a minute or so.
- You can leave the tails on or take it off as per your preference. Shrimp with tails on would be great to serve as an appetizer.
- Use oil with a high smoke point. Heat the oil to a good temperature without actually smoking, to give a quick and nice sear with dark crust.
- The ginger and garlic should cook through well. Raise the heat If needed.
How To Store
Store leftover sautéed shrimp in refrigerator. Reheat at low temp for a few minutes, with a light sprinkle of water.
What goes well with sautéed spicy shrimp?
- Sautéed spicy shrimp will be awesome with homemade dal and steamed rice. Transfer the shrimp to a serving dish, and sauté some onions and bell peppers to serve as a side.
- Pair it with lemon cauliflower rice for a lower carb option. Add some healthy side dishes.
- Serve with naan, pickled cucumber salad and ayran.
- Make some shrimp wraps with easy no-yeast flatbreads, adding some lettuce, tomato and cucumber raita.
The best way to thaw shrimp would be to place it in the refrigerator overnight. To thaw shrimp quickly, place the frozen shrimp in a large bowl of cold water. Stir it every 5 minutes to gently break up the clumps. It should thaw in 15 minutes. Do not thaw at room temperature, in microwave or submerged in hot water.
If the raw shrimp shells are already scored on the back, then grab by the tail and legs and pull off the shell. Using a small knife lift the black string (intestinal tract) and pull it out.
But if the shells are not scored, take a sharp knife and score across the back curved side of the shrimp. The slit should be shallow, just to be able to get the black string out.
This spicy sautéed shrimp dish is gluten free, low carb, high protein, nut free, dairy free, egg free and soy free. A 3-ounce serving provides about 20 grams protein!
Shrimp are a good source of nutrition. They are low in calories, rich in protein, selenium and vitamin B 12. And are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, iodine, copper and choline.
Previously, those with high levels of blood cholesterol were cautioned to avoid shrimp as it is a good source of cholesterol. But, research indicates that saturated fat intake has a greater impact on blood cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol. And shrimp are pretty low in saturated fat.
However, those who have high blood cholesterol levels, should follow their healthcare professional’s personalized diet advice. And bear in mind that some people may also be allergic to shrimp.
More Seafood Recipes
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Sautéed Spicy Shrimp (Masala Shrimp)
- 1 pound jumbo raw shrimp peeled and deveined, unpeeled weight 1½ to 2 lbs
- 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut or ground unsweetened dried coconut flakes
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste or finely grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste or finely grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Chopped green onions
- Lemon wedges
- Chopped green chilies
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine desiccated coconut, ginger, garlic, chili powder, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala, salt and pepper.
- Using a paper towel, pat the shrimp dry and add it to the bowl. Toss to coat the spice mixture very well on all sides.
- Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet (or non-stick) at medium high heat. Place the masala coated shrimp in a single layer in the skillet, without crowding the pan.
- Cook about 1 minute on each side until slightly curled and just opaque, turning them with tongs. The shrimp should still be tender and juicy.
- Tip: Do not over cook the shrimp or they will turn rubbery. Total cooking time may vary from 2 to 4 minutes. Cast iron skillet retains heat, so cooking time may be a bit more for regular non-stick pan.
- Transfer immediately to a serving dish and garnish with chopped cilantro, chopped green onions and lemon juice. Extra lemon wedges on the side.
- Use oil with a high smoke point.
- Cook the shrimp to get a quick and nice sear with a dark crust. Cast iron skillet gives a better sear.
- The ginger and garlic should cook through. If needed raise the heat.
- The masala mixture should stick to the shrimp and not to the pan.
- Store leftovers in refrigerator. Reheat at low heat for a few minutes.
- Salt: The sodium value for shrimp is based on retail market shrimp that typically come in contact with sodium solutions while processing. It may vary if using fresh untreated raw shrimp.
- Check blog post above for more tips, variations, and FAQs, etc.
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This post was first published on February 2020 and has been updated with additional enhancements.