Paleo Punjabi Style Masala Shrimp

Want a flavor-packed meal that takes less than a half hour from start to finish?  This shrimp dish is the recipe for you.  I stumbled upon the inspiration for this dish on the Food Network website – it was a recommendation at the bottom on the webpage.  The original recipe is from Chef Geetika Khanna, and was easily modified to work with ingredients that I had on hand for a quick Paleo meal.

Even though our Commissary doesn’t have a fresh seafood section, they do have some wild caught selections in the freezer section.  I have discovered that Emeril Lagasse’s Wild American Shrimp brand works perfectly in any shrimp dish.  All I needed to do was put them in a colander and rinse them with cold running water for about 10 minutes to thaw them completely.  It sounds tedious, but it takes very little effort.  I didn’t waste too much water because I wasn’t blasting the shrimp with water, and simply rotated the colander every few minutes to get even distribution.  This whole process can also be done while you are starting the sauce.  Just make sure that you pat them dry with a paper towel before putting them in the sauce – there is nothing worse than water-logged shrimp.  They not only taste bad, but it will ruin the consistency of your dish.  If you are using fresh shrimp, just make sure they are rinsed, cleaned of the “vein”, and patted dry before adding.  The cooking time shouldn’t be any different.  Keep stirring them in the sauce until they are slightly curled and opaque. 

I’ve honestly never had a shrimp dish at an Indian restaurant, but the result certainly felt like it was of restaurant quality!  I did not have all the ingredients that were called for in the original recipe, but I was able to use a Thai Kitchen red curry paste to replace the red chiles in the original recipe.  That may not be an item that you currently have in your pantry or fridge, but it is certainly worth getting!  It certainly compliments the Indian flavors of this dish, in addition to working extremely well with coconut milk (something I clearly keep around).

This dish is flavorful and isn’t too spicy – despite the red curry and pepper flakes.  You can bump up the heat if you prefer it hot!  Either way, this dish pairs perfectly with so many sides: Cauliflower Rice, baked sweet potato, my Paleo Indian Butternut Squash Gratin, my Paleo Bombay Sweet Potato… so many options!  It even made a great breakfast when I topped it with an egg over medium!


  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 tbs ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground ginger (or 2 tbs fresh ginger, grated)
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz) can organic diced tomatoes
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • optional: dried cilantro, for garnish


  • 1. Heat the coconut oil in a large nonstick pan on medium/med-high heat
  • 2. Add cumin seeds, red pepper flakes and cook, stirring until fragrant
  • 3. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes
  • 4. Add the coriander, ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric, curry paste, salt and pepper, stirring for 1-2 minutes
  • 5. Add the canned tomatoes, coconut milk, stir, and turn down to a simmer if it is bubbling too heavily
  • 6. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes to let flavors marry, then taste for additional salt and pepper, if necessary
  • 7. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until the shrimp turns opaque
  • 8. Serve with a sprinkle of dried or fresh cilantro as a garnish, if desired
  • 9. Enjoy!