Goan Shrimp Curry

Fancy a trip to Goa? πŸ˜‰

To be honest, I have never been. All I know about Goa I have learnt from watching Bollywood movies. And all those taught me was that Goa has gorgeous beaches, and attracts a lot of hippies and hot scantily clad Bollywood actors to dance on the beach while most of them get high! :p

What I did not know much about was the food. Being a coastal town, they make a lot of seafood dishes. And the abundance of coconut trees means they also cook with coconut a lot!

This Goan Shrimp Curry is a great easy curry recipe to add to your regular rotation when you feel like something ‘desi’ but don’t want to slave for ages by the stove. You can also adjust the spice level to your liking. Goan food tends to be on the spicy side, but in the recipe below I provide both a spicy option using Kashmiri red chillies, or substitute for paprika for a much milder spice level.

I learnt this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s master class about Indian cooking (Which I really enjoyed and highly recommend if you want to learn a bit more about the origins of the flavours in south east asian food). It was fascinating learning how diverse the flavours are throughout the region. As well, did you know that until the 15th century, red pepper did not exist in India? They only used black pepper to add a kick to their food! Then after the Spanish conquests, Portuguese traders brought red peppers to India and now I cannot even imagine a desi recipe without it!

Basic Curry Techniques

The secret to this curry is all in the technique –

  • Using shallots instead of onions helps get a milder flavour for the base of the curry (although onions do work just fine too). It is the closest you can get to using authentic pink onions like they use in South East Asia here in North America.
  • When you add the spices, take the pan off the heat first then add the spices. Allows the spices to gently toast for a minute or two and flavour to deepen slightly before you add the liquid for your curry.
  • Once the spices are toasted, add the liquid – in this case coconut milk -and allow that to simmer to reduce so the flavours can have a chance to come together.
  • Using shrimp makes this a quick curry, but you can easily adapt this for any quick cooking protein – fish, boiled chickpeas or try some pan fried tofu for a veg version! The technique will remain the same.

An Easy Weeknight Meal

If you are looking for an easy curry recipe that is loaded with flavour, but doesn’t use any complicated or hard to find ingredients, I highly recommend trying out this Goan shrimp curry! It would be especially delicious with some of my muttar pulao too! Just sayin’ πŸ˜‰

We make this curry almost weekly now. In the time it takes for my rice to cook, I can have the curry ready! Keep a bag of frozen shrimp in your freezer and a can of coconut milk in the pantry and you can make this curry and travel to Goa anytime! (Famous Bollywood stars not included πŸ˜‰

Easy Goan Shrimp Curry

A great basic coconut milk based curry that is ready in about 15 minutes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free, Paleo, sugar free, Whole30
Servings: 2


  • 3 tbsp cooking oil (I like to use avocado oil)
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped (or small onion)
  • 2 tsp paprika or kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk (about 1 400ml can)
  • 400g frozen shrimp, deveined, shell-off (approx. 30-40 shrimp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lemon, for serving


  • Warm oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the finely chopped shallots and cook for 5-8 minutes stirring often until the shallots start to soften and turn brown on the edges.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the spices – 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli (or paprika), 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp turmeric. Stir to form a paste and allow the spices to toast in the residual heat of the pan, about 1 minute.
  • Bring the pan back on the heat, add the coconut milk and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally to scrape off any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Reduce heat to low, add the shrimp. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the shrimp turn opaque. Add salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
  • Serve warm with basmati rice.

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