This Chettinad Shrimp Masala is so delicious, rich, and absolutely addictive. Yes, this is addictive! If you thought Butter Chicken was addictive, wait until you try this. This recipe is inspired by the flavours of the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu in South India, which is well known for its food throughout India. This is one of the most flavourful Indian dishes and is the perfect masala for baby shrimp. Cooking this with baby shrimp ensures that you get a few shrimp in each bite along with the lip-smackingly good masala. The baby shrimp remain juicy on the inside while they are slightly browned on the outside. Grinding or blending most of the ingredients ensures that the masala is smooth in texture as well as uniformly rich in flavor. Once you taste this dish, you may not go back to cooking shrimp curry any other way again. Let’s get started.
Chettinad Shrimp Masala – Recipe
- 1lb of baby shrimp, cleaned and shells removed (frozen baby shrimp works well, make sure to thaw in cold water for 2 minutes prior to marinating)
- ½ tsp. ground dry red chilies
- ¼ tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1” piece ginger, chopped
- 3 green chilies, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 sprig curry leaves, leaves separated from stem
- ¼ cup coriander, tough stems discarded
- 1 Tbsp. oil
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- ½ tsp. mustard seeds
- 1 – 2 tsp. ground dry red chilies
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. garam masala or biryani masala, divided
- ¼ tsp. turmeric
- Salt, to taste
- 1 cup thick coconut milk, divided
- Combine all ingredients under ‘Marinade’ and set aside. Grind or blend together all ingredients in the ‘Paste’ section in a food processor or blender, set aside.
- Add oil in a large, heavy bottom skillet set over medium-high heat; add mustard seeds and sauté until they start to splutter.
- Add onions and continue to sauté until onions are soft. Add the ground paste and sauté until no longer raw, 2 – 4 minutes.
- Add the ground dry red chilies, ground coriander, turmeric, 1 ½ tsp. garam masala and salt to taste and continue to sauté, 2 minutes. The onion will start to melt into the rest of the masala.
- Add shrimp and combine well with the masala. Sautee for 1 minute, add ¾ cup of the thick coconut milk, mix well to combine and continue to sauté for another minute until shrimp is cooked through.
- In order for the shrimp to sear nicely, reduce heat to medium and do not stir masala more than once every minute for about 6 – 8 minutes or until the masala has reduced to a thick consisency.
- Add rest of the garam masala and the thick coconut milk and stir until well combined and cook until warmed through. Turn off heat and let masala sit for about 5 minutes prior to serving.
This masala should be nice and thick, but not dry. Serve with cooked white rice, roti or naan with Coriander Chutney on the side. The time you allow for the masala to reduce and the shrimp to sear is what makes this dish so yummy. The baby shrimp have a nice texture and soak up a lot of the flavor as you do this. My favourite way of eating this is mixed with plain white rice. Or is it mopping up every last bit of the masala with garlic naan? I can’t decide and when you try this dish, you may not be able to either.