Tasty and tender shrimp masala curry cooked in a rustic Indian sauce made with onions and tomatoes, along with aromatics such as ginger, garlic, and spices.

Make this authentic Indian curry with shrimp or prawns in 30 minutes, and enjoy it with naan or rice!

Indian shrimp masala curry in a bowl garnished with cilantro leaves
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

Indian Shrimp Masala, like many Indian dishes, is a quick yet delicious dish bursting with spicy flavor. The recipe is authentic, and the majority of the ingredients are traditionally used in Indian and Pakistani cooking. The good news is that this recipe calls for only a few spices.

This curry has gravy made with onion, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes. I also use basic spices that you probably already have in your pantry. This spicy twist on seafood will blow your senses away.

Easy Shrimp Masala Recipe

This shrimp masala is my favorite Indian Shrimp recipe. That said, shrimp can be slightly tricky to cook at home, but with this easy recipe and the step-by-step method, it’ll be a breeze for you.

Unlike most Indian curries, this is a thickish curry with the masala nicely coating the shrimp.

Shrimp vs. Prawns

You might have heard that shrimp and prawn are the same and are often used interchangeably. But that’s NOT true. They do taste and look similar but are very different structurally.

The word “prawn” is more frequently used on menus in the UK and India, whereas, in North America, people widely use the word ”shrimp”.

Let me tell you some of the key differences between the two:

  • They have different sizes. I am sure you already know this. Typically shrimp is smaller than a prawn, but some varieties of shrimp are large too.
  • Shrimp is found in saltwater, and prawns in freshwater
  • They both have external skeletons and ten legs, but while shrimp are classified under the suborder Pleocyemata, prawns belong to the suborder Dendrobranchiata. So they are distinctly different species.
  • Shrimp has plate-like gills, whereas prawn has branching gills.
  • Shrimp have two pairs of claw-like legs, unlike prawns which have three pairs.
  • Shrimp bodies have a distinct bend, and their second and third segments overlap. Prawns, on the other hand, lack this distinct bend in their bodies, and each of their body segments gradually overlaps the one behind it.

(Source: Read more here)

Because shrimp or prawn is a delicate protein, it can be marinated with just some simple ingredients – salt, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, and lime juice. We do not need to use any tenderizers such as yogurt or ginger here, unlike in my tandoori chicken wings recipe.

Remember that if marinated shrimp are kept for too long, the acid in the lime or lemon juice will cause the shrimp to disintegrate. Prior to cooking, keep the shrimp in the marinade for no longer than 30 minutes.

Ingredients

This recipe uses easily available everyday ingredients.

  • Shrimp: Try to use jumbo (11-15/ pound) or extra-large (16-20/ pound) shrimp, frozen or fresh; either is fine. Make sure the shrimp are shelled and cleaned well before you use them.
  • Spices: You need only a few spices for this recipe. Mustard seeds, Turmeric powder, Kashmiri Red chili powder, Garam Masala, and Black pepper powder. You can use my recipe to make your own garam masala. Mustard seeds are used for tempering and provide an earthy flavor.
  • Aromatics: Onion, ginger, and garlic. You can use red or yellow onion. Use freshly minced ginger and garlic (this is definitely preferred) or a readymade ginger-garlic paste.
  • Tomatoes: Use fresh red plump tomatoes, but you can use canned ones too.
  • Herbs: Cilantro, curry leaves, and green chili. These add immense aroma and flavor to this recipe.
  • Lime/ Lemon Juice: This is used for marination. Also, a little drizzle of lime juice on the final dish will help to round out the flavors.
  • Oil: Use an oil with a high smoking point, like – sunflower, avocado, or corn oil.
  • Salt: No dish can be complete without salt!
Shrimp Masala ingredients

How To Make?

This restaurant-style dish is super easy to put together and consists of 3 main steps:

1. Marinate the shrimp

Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix well. Add shrimp. Stir and coat with the marinade on all sides. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.

Shrimp/Prawns marinated with lime juice and spices

2. Prepare the sauce/ Masala

  • To a large pan, add the oil. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chili. Then add sliced onions, ginger, and garlic, and sauté for about 3 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  • Add tomato, spices and mix well. 
  • Cover with a lid and cook for 6-8 minutes until the tomatoes soften.

3. Combine

  • Add marinated shrimp. Stir well and let the curry cook for 5-7 minutes until the shrimp is just cooked. Do not overcook.
  • Garnish with cilantro. You can add a tempering of curry leaves and mustard seeds on top.
Shrimp Masala/Prawns masala curry in a pan garnished with cilantro leaves

The shrimp masala is ready. Enjoy with basmati rice and naan.

Shrimp masala served over rice

Tips

  • If you prefer, you can leave the tails of the shrimp attached. However, it is not common for Indian-style dishes.
  • Do not marinate the shrimp for longer than 30 minutes. Being delicate in nature, the lime juice can destroy the texture if left for longer.
  • Cook the masala/ gravy slowly till the oil oozes out on the sides of the pan.
  • If you don’t like heat, use paprika instead of chili powder and skip the green chili.
  • Remember not to overcook the shrimp. Overcooking can cause the shrimp to dry out, resulting in a chewy, rubbery texture.
  • A final tempering/ tadka of curry leaves and mustard seeds on the finished dish will take your dish to another level.
  • A little lemon juice, when squeezed on top, will enhance the flavors.

Storage

You can refrigerate leftover shrimp masala for 2-3 days. Simply microwave or heat in a pan with a splash of water on a stovetop or microwave before eating.

Shrimp Masala curry in a bowl garnished with cilantro leaves

Variations

  • For the gravy, you can also use heavy cream or coconut milk (vegan) in the end for an extra rich – creamy curry.
  • You can easily substitute shrimp for Indian Prawns in this recipe to make a prawn masala curry.
  • Allergic to shrimps/ prawns or not a fan of seafood? no worries. Swap the shrimp/ prawns with boneless chicken pieces. Although it will take the chicken a little longer to cook than the shrimp, it will be just as tasty, similar to my mom’s chicken curry!
  • If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can make this same curry with either paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or tofu.

How To Serve this Curry?

This dish goes well with rice, especially Basmati rice, jeera rice, or vegetable biryani but steamed plain rice also tastes equally good.

If you love Indian bread, then roti/ chapati, paratha, or naan on the side will make it a perfect meal.

You can also serve a simple kachumber salad or onion salad for the extra kick on the side to balance out the meal.

This drool-worthy dish can be served at your next holiday dinner or at a potluck.

More Indian Seafood Recipes

4.95 from 17 votes

Shrimp Masala Recipe

Tasty and tender shrimp masala curry cooked in a rustic Indian sauce made with onions and tomatoes, along with aromatics such as ginger, garlic and spices. Make this authentic Indian curry with shrimp or prawns, and enjoy with a side of naan or rice!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

For Marinade

For masala

  • 2 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds (Rai)
  • 8-10 Curry Leaves
  • 1 Green chili , optional
  • 1 cup Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon Ginger , minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon Garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup Tomato , diced
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • Cilantro , to garnish

Spices for sauce

Instructions 

Marinate the Shrimp

  • Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix well. Add shrimp. Stir and coat with the marinade on all sides. Let is rest 15 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Prepare the sauce

  • To a large pan, add the oil. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chili. Then add sliced onions, ginger, garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  • Add tomato, spices and mix well. 
  • Cover with a lid and cook for 6-8 minutes until the tomatoes soften.
  • Add marinated shrimp and water. Stir well and let the curry cook for 5-7 minutes until shrimp is just cooked. Do not overcook.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Shrimp masala is ready. Enjoy with basmati rice and naan.
  • You can add a tempering of curry leaves and mustard seeds on top.

Video

Notes

Marination: Do not marinate the shrimp for longer than 30 minutes. Being delicate in nature, the lime juice can destroy the texture if left for longer.
Sauce: Cook the masala/ gravy slowly till the oil oozes out on the sides of the pan.
Make it mild: If you don’t like heat, use paprika or kashmiri red chili powder which are mild and skip the green chili.
Do not overcook: Remember not to overcook the shrimp. Over-cooking can cause the shrimp to dry out and result in a chewy- rubbery texture.
Finishing: A little lime juice when squeezed on top will enhance the flavors.

Nutrition

Calories: 182kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 17gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 1286mgPotassium: 311mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 887IUVitamin C: 50mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, North Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, seafood
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

You May Also Like

Get new recipes sent to your inbox!
Don't miss out! Subscribe and get all the new recipes first.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. The recipe is very good but is missing a few steps, such as when to add the green chile and the water. Of course any cook can figure it out but, if listed in the ingredients, it should be listed in the steps. Other than that, another hit!

    1. Hi Catherine – Thank you for the feedback. I have added the details. Glad you enjoyed the curry!

  2. I made the silly mistake to add more chillies. I also didn’t have the curry leaves or the mustard seeds. But it turned out really good. I’m excited to get the missing ingredients and try this recipe again the proper way.

  3. This is delicious. A few things – 1) I needed 1/2 cup of water, 2) the garlic and ginger should sauté for a bit before adding the tomatoes, 3) a bit too spicy (and I can handle spice!)

  4. This looks amazing! One question: the nutrition info says this is 403 calories. That has to be for the entire recipe, not each serving, right? Because shrimp is very low in calories, and really the only thing in there that is a little more calorific is the oil. No high-fat coconut milk, etc. If that’s per serving, I really don’t have any idea where all those calories come from, LOL.

    In any case, I definitely plan to make it! Just need to confirm the calorie situation. Thank you for posting this!

    1. Hi Mindy – Thanks for asking. I rechecked the nutrition information, and found that the calculator says it is about 182 calories per serving. Hope you enjoy it!

      1. Thank you so much for getting back to me! I will most likely be making this in the next week or so. Looking forward to it! M