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Shrimp with Curry Leaves

Shrimp with Curry Leaves
Shrimp with Curry Leaves pictures (1 of 4)

It is not easy to come by fresh curry leaves here in Orange County. So whenever they are available at the local Indian grocery store, I rarely let the opportunity to whip up something spicy slip by, especially during the winter months. The curry leaf is one of the many Indian influences that blends really well into Malaysian cuisine, which is exotic and predominantly spicy. The leaves impart an unmistakable fragrance when used in any cooking, especially stir-fries, that I can best describe as smoky with a citrusy note. Ironically, unlike its namesake implies, the curry leaf doesn’t smell or taste like curry powder, although it is used to enhance the flavor of many curry dishes.

Growing up on an island where jumping fresh seafood is abundantly available has nurtured my deep affinity for seafood as my ingredient of choice. And one of the scents that evokes fond memories of my childhood is the distinct aroma of curry leaves coupled with the briny-sweet aroma of fresh shrimp wafting from my mother’s kitchen whenever she prepared her pièce de résistance—”Shrimp with Curry Leaves“. This dish is one of the truly “old school” seafood with curry leaves favorites before the advent of new creations such as Butter Prawn, Black Pepper Crab, or Creamy Butter Crab.

To fully savor the intense flavor of spices in this shrimp with curry leaves recipe, you have to lick the sauce coated on the shrimp shell as you take a bite of the shrimp, so be prepared to get your fingers “dirty.”

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32 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Susan Cohen via Facebook

    That’s why I have my own curry plant. It was pretty sickly looking when I saved it from a local Indian grocery store two years ago but this winter it’s really come into it’s own.

  2. In my state in India, curry leaves are used with almost everything – fish, meat, and vegetables. Though we keep aside the curry leaves while eating, we are often advised to eat them as well, because they have many medicinal benefits.

    The shrimps look delectable!

  3. Kokila

    I love this dish and it looks mouthwatering. I want to try this recipe ASAP. Hey Bee I tried your asparagus sambal yesterday and it turns out to be a hit at my house…the only changes I did was the replacement of asparagus with long beans and it turns out yummylicious…thank you Bee!

  4. I love curry leaves too! make dishes extra fragrant.

    No matter who…No matter where…No matter how…Hope this is the beginning of a wonderful new year. Happy New Year!

    • Rasa Malaysia

      Hi Daisy,
      Try using chicken or other kinds of meat, and instead of deep frying, just follow the same steps and stir fry the dish. I bet the dish will come out as great!

  5. sanity


    I tried this recipe yesterday. It was amazing!It was so yummy that i’ve been asked to make it again today! I added alittle more chilli to the dish as i love it spicy. This is my first time commenting though i have tried and tested a few recipes (10-15). I’m elated to say none of them failed. All were restaurant quality or even better. You are doing a fantastic job! I can’t appreciate and thank you enough.

    Just a tip about currry leaves. You can buy fresh curry leaves and keep them in the freezer,esp in countries where you don’t have it readily available. It will change color but the quality and aroma still packs a punch! They become crumbly sometimes, all the more better as you can just crumble it into the dish thus makes it more edible. Like indu stated,it has many medicinal benefits, improves eye sight,promotes growth of black luscious hair and improves memory power to name a few.

    • Rasa Malaysia

      Thanks for trying out the recipe. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for the curry leaves tip. Now I know how to store the remaining curry leaves and make full good use of it.

  6. Wally

    Shrimp is always better cooked in the shells and head on. But that leaves the problem of the vein in the tail. Can you just butterfly the shrimp, remove the vein but leave the shell intact?

    • Rasa Malaysia

      Yes, you can definitely do that. Just scissors off the back of the prawns, remove the veins. Leave the shell in tact, or not, whichever way you prefer.

    • Rasa Malaysia

      Tamarind concentrate also known as tamarind or Asam paste found in many Asian grocery markets. Hope you find it. If not, just use regular tamarind pulp/block. For this recipe, cut 1/2 an ounce of block tamarind, soak in roughly 3 tablespoons of water, and then strain. This should yield about 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste.

  7. Yen

    I tried this tonight and it was yummy but I felt 10 bird’s eye chillies were too much. I only used five and it was still too spicy for some of my family members…beautiful dish nonetheless. I enjoyed it. The spiciness of the chillies combined with the sweet and sourness of the tamarind was perfect.

    Your site is truly awesome and I’ve tried so many of your recipes and they never fail. Thanks to you, all my friends think I am a good cook and always look forward to dishes cooked by me ;)

  8. Bee Ho

    This looks yummy. I have dried some curry leaves back in Summer, now can make use of them. Thanks for the recipe. : )

  9. Kyle Kiernan

    The curry leaves cannot be over emphasized. The first time I smelled one I thought to myself that this was the essence of the taste of curry yet I had never even heard of them until I was overseas. There are all kinds of curry seasonings sold here but no curry leaves! One reason is that the leaves can’t be used dried as the flavor oils dry out of them.
    If you like Indian food and curry its an absolute must to get a live curry plant.

  10. Joeman

    What a great recipe, Bee! It’s not only delicious, it’s perfect when you’re trying to watch calories. It makes me feel sorry for those who are actually on a standard diet. They need to discover Rasa Malasia instead!

  11. Mitzi

    Wow. I’m blown away by this recipe! I cooked this for dinner tonight and it was very flavorful despite the small amount of salt, which is a welcome trait in any recipe in my book. It’s my first time cooking with curry leaves and turmeric. So glad I finally tried this. Fresh curry leaves are hard to come by here. I’m from the Philippines. Thank you! Now I want to try your other recipes…

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