Thai Shrimp Curry: A Flavorful and Easy Recipe Guide

Thai shrimp curry is a delectable dish that combines the rich flavors of coconut milk, aromatic spices, and succulent shrimp. This dish is a staple in Thai cuisine and is beloved worldwide for its balance of spicy, sweet, and savory flavors. In this guide, we’ll explore the ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and tips to create an authentic Thai shrimp curry right in your kitchen.

What is Thai Shrimp Curry?

Thai shrimp curry is a traditional Thai dish that features shrimp cooked in a fragrant and creamy curry sauce made from coconut milk, red or green curry paste, fish sauce, and a variety of vegetables and herbs. It’s typically served over steamed jasmine rice or with rice noodles, making for a satisfying and aromatic meal.

Traditional Thai Shrimp Curry in Asia

Ingredients for Thai Shrimp Curry

To make Thai shrimp curry, you will need the following ingredients:

For the Curry:

  • Shrimp: 1 pound, peeled and deveined
  • Coconut Milk: 1 can (14 ounces)
  • Red or Green Curry Paste: 2-3 tablespoons (adjust to taste)
  • Fish Sauce: 2 tablespoons
  • Brown Sugar: 1 tablespoon
  • Chicken or Vegetable Broth: 1 cup
  • Vegetable Oil: 2 tablespoons


  • Red Bell Pepper: 1, sliced
  • Zucchini: 1, sliced
  • Carrots: 2, julienned
  • Bamboo Shoots: 1 can (optional)
  • Baby Corn: 1 cup (optional)


  • Garlic: 3 cloves, minced
  • Ginger: 1-inch piece, minced
  • Onion: 1, sliced
  • Lemongrass: 1 stalk, bruised and cut into pieces (optional)


  • Fresh Basil Leaves: 1/4 cup, torn
  • Cilantro: 1/4 cup, chopped
  • Lime Wedges: For serving
  • Red Chili Slices: For extra heat (optional)

Instructions for Making Thai Shrimp Curry

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  1. Clean the Shrimp: Peel and devein the shrimp, then set aside.
  2. Chop the Vegetables: Slice the red bell pepper, zucchini, carrots, and onion. Mince the garlic and ginger. Prepare the lemongrass if using.

Step 2: Cook the Aromatics

  1. Heat the Oil: In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the Aromatics: Add the minced garlic, ginger, and sliced onion to the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the Curry Paste: Stir in the curry paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Step 3: Build the Curry Base

  1. Add Coconut Milk and Broth: Pour in the coconut milk and chicken or vegetable broth, stirring well to combine with the curry paste.
  2. Season the Curry: Add the fish sauce and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.

Step 4: Cook the Vegetables and Shrimp

  1. Add Vegetables: Add the red bell pepper, zucchini, carrots, bamboo shoots, and baby corn to the skillet. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Cook the Shrimp: Add the shrimp to the curry and cook for 3-4 minutes until they turn pink and are cooked through.

Step 5: Finish and Serve

  1. Add Fresh Herbs: Stir in the fresh basil leaves and cilantro just before serving to retain their vibrant color and flavor.
  2. Serve: Serve the Thai shrimp curry over steamed jasmine rice or with rice noodles. Garnish with lime wedges and red chili slices for extra heat.

Tips for the Best Thai Shrimp Curry

Choosing the Right Shrimp

  • Freshness: Use fresh or high-quality frozen shrimp for the best flavor and texture. Avoid shrimp with a strong odor or slimy texture.
  • Size: Medium to large shrimp are ideal for this curry, as they provide a satisfying bite without getting lost in the sauce.

Adjusting the Spice Level

  • Curry Paste: The heat level of the curry can be adjusted by using more or less curry paste. Thai red curry paste tends to be spicier than green curry paste, so choose based on your heat preference.
  • Chili: For extra heat, add fresh red chili slices or a pinch of chili flakes to the curry.

Balancing the Flavors

  • Sweetness: Adjust the amount of brown sugar to balance the spice and savoriness of the dish.
  • Saltiness: Fish sauce adds a salty, umami flavor. Start with the recommended amount and adjust to taste.

Serving Suggestions

  • Rice: Serve the curry over steamed jasmine rice to soak up the delicious sauce.
  • Noodles: Rice noodles or egg noodles make a great alternative to rice.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add or substitute vegetables based on what you have on hand. Snow peas, green beans, and spinach work well in this dish.

Health Benefits of Thai Shrimp Curry

High in Protein

Shrimp is a low-calorie, high-protein seafood option, making it an excellent choice for a balanced diet.

Rich in Nutrients

  • Vitamins: The vegetables in the curry provide essential vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and various B vitamins.
  • Minerals: Ingredients like shrimp and vegetables are rich in minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

  • Ginger and Garlic: Both ginger and garlic have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • Coconut Milk: While high in saturated fat, coconut milk contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Variations of Thai Shrimp Curry

Thai Green Shrimp Curry

For a milder and more herbal flavor, use green curry paste instead of red. Green curry paste is typically less spicy and has a vibrant green color from fresh green chilies and herbs.

Thai Panang Shrimp Curry

Panang curry is a type of Thai curry that is thicker and richer due to the addition of ground peanuts. To make Thai Panang shrimp curry, use Panang curry paste and add a couple of tablespoons of ground peanuts to the sauce.

Thai Pineapple Shrimp Curry

For a sweet and tangy twist, add fresh pineapple chunks to the curry. The sweetness of the pineapple complements the spiciness of the curry paste and the creaminess of the coconut milk.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use other proteins instead of shrimp?

Yes, you can substitute shrimp with chicken, beef, tofu, or a variety of seafood such as scallops or fish. Adjust cooking times accordingly to ensure the protein is cooked through.

Can I make this curry vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, to make a vegetarian or vegan version, use tofu or a mix of vegetables such as mushrooms, bell peppers, and baby corn. Replace the fish sauce with soy sauce or tamari for a vegan-friendly option.

How do I store and reheat leftovers?

Store leftover Thai shrimp curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, adding a splash of water or broth if needed to thin the sauce.

Can I freeze Thai shrimp curry?

Yes, you can freeze Thai shrimp curry. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

What can I serve with Thai shrimp curry?

Serve Thai shrimp curry with steamed jasmine rice, rice noodles, or a side of stir-fried vegetables. A fresh cucumber salad or a Thai-style papaya salad also pairs well with the rich flavors of the curry.


Thai shrimp curry is a flavorful and aromatic dish that brings the authentic taste of Thailand to your kitchen. With its creamy coconut milk, bold curry paste, and fresh vegetables, this dish is sure to become a favorite. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, this guide provides all the steps and tips you need to make a delicious Thai shrimp curry. Enjoy the process of cooking and savor the vibrant flavors of this classic Thai dish!

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