30-Minute Spicy Shrimp Masala
Learn how to make a quick and easy spicy shrimp masala that’s perfect to serve with rice or with warm naan. It’s an Indian inspired recipe that’s sure to please!
Spicy shrimp masala!
Guys, guys, guys! I’ve been DYING to share this recipe with you. First, picture this: spicy sauteed tomato paste flavored with fresh ginger and garlic paste, followed by coriander and cumin (because what Indian recipe is complete without it,) and finally tons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and chopped cilantro. So to sum it all up, it’s all the flavors you LOVE from Indian food that come together in this spicy shrimp masala.
True story: I hesitated a bit when I first started developing this recipe. I mean, we love the flavors of good Indian food but this isn’t something that’s super familiar, and I had no idea how you guys would feel about shrimp and masala together.
True story: I posted a picture of this on Insta-stories to see how many of you would make something like this and guys! You blew me away!
So here it is, this one goes out to YOU.
For our spicy shrimp masala, we start by making our scented masala paste from scratch, and then we cook the shrimp in that paste and what you get is this dry mix of shrimp masala. This recipe doesn’t have a whole lot of gravy, so I prefer to serve it with naan bread, but for my rice lovers, this would work well over basmati rice too!
Before we go any further, I feel I need to clarify that I’m certainly not an Indian/Pakistani food expert. I’m sure it’s already fairly obvious, but there, now I’ve said it too. My mom has always made a variation of this recipe growing up, and this is her recipe with a few tweaks here and there.
Alright alright, let’s get into the thick of this shrimp masala recipe.
It all starts with the tomatoes and some oil. Be generous with the oil here because the tomatoes are going to fry in it until they start to fall apart and form a paste. Next, we’ll add in the ginger and garlic paste along with diced jalapenos and let that all cook down for a minute or so.
Now comes the seasonings! You’ll see all the usual ingredients of Indian cuisine – coriander, cumin, turmeric, and red pepper flakes. We’ll cook all of that with a little water, so the flavors develop. Then comes the shrimp, this will take just a few minutes to cook up. Finally, we’ll season it with garam masala, lemon juice, fenugreek leaves, and chaat masala (optional).
When I shared my butter chicken recipe a few years ago, I had a ton of you ask what you should do with the leftover fenugreek leaves. Well, here it is! Make SPICY SHRIMP MASALA.
The chaat masala is optional for this recipe, but it does add quite a bit of flavor. You know when you eat at an Indian restaurant and can’t quite figure out what that flavor is that’s a little tart and a little salty —> it’s chaat masala. Try sprinkling a bit on your chana masala too, friends it will leave you feeling all sorts of special, but whatever you do, DON’T SMELL IT straight from the packaging. I’m not even going to pretend it’s pleasant. ??♀️ If you aren’t familiar with chaat masala, it contains flavors like black salt and dried mango powder. Here’s a link to the one I used.
And there it is! An easy, flavorful, 30-minute shrimp masala recipe. This recipe is super flexible so you could swap the shrimp for boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh pieces. The chicken will take a bit longer to cook through than the shrimp, but it’ll be just as delicious!
Hungry for Indian food?
Now you’ve got your fix in 30.
- 1/4 cup oil (yes, 1/4 cup!)
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 2 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon EACH: coriander powder, turmeric powder, AND red pepper flakes*
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 16 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined*
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves, crushed between fingers
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons chaat masala*
- chopped cilantro, cooked basmati rice or naan, for serving
- make the masala: Heat the oil over a large sauté over medium-high heat. Carefully add the tomatoes, so the oil doesn't splatter. Stir the tomatoes around and allow them to cook for several minutes until they cook down into a thick paste, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic paste, ginger paste, and jalapenos and let cook for 1 minute or until nice and fragrant. Add the seasonings: coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and cumin. Stir the masala and add the water so it doesn't burn.
- cook the shrimp: Allow the water to dry up, about 5 minutes and add the shrimp. Let cook for 2-3 minutes stirring so the shrimp are coated with the tomato masala. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, fenugreek leaves, garam masala, chaat masala, turn the stove off and add the lemon juice. Stir the shrimp masala and decorate with chopped cilantro. Serve warm with basmati rice or naan!
- To cut the spice a bit, you can use less red pepper flakes and fewer jalapeno peppers.
- Chaat masala is optional for this recipe however it does give it that true restaurant-style masala flavor!
- You can swap the shrimp for boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast pieces. The chicken will take a bit longer to cook through than the shrimp, but it’ll be just as delicious!