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  • Writer's picture Payal M.

Mum's Classic Shrimp Curry

We grew up eating quite a bit of seafood which is to be expected as Fiji happens to be a large group of islands (ahem over 300 hundred islands). I lived on the west side of the biggest one, Viti Levu. We were surrounded by the Pacific ocean and seafood was fresh and plentiful. My parents, especially my mum, loved seafood and we would sometimes go to some lengths to buy the freshest seafood possible. Back in my non-vegetarian days, I used to love eating fish but I was never too thrilled about prawns or crab growing up. After moving to the US though, I missed all the Fiji seafood. Even the prawns and crabs. We would try to find similar tasting seafood here but it did not taste quite the same. Not to mention seafood here is considered a more expensive food item and you can rarely find it fresh off the boat. Anyways, in the almost twenty years here, we have managed to find seafood that we like. Of course, we make a curry out of it!

Today's recipe is quick, easy and extremely tasty. Plus it is fancy enough to serve to guests. Bonus points. Much like Mum's other recipes this one is quite straightforward and easy. We like to buy the shrimp with the shell on but you can use whichever type of uncooked shrimp you prefer. Make sure shrimp is thawed and washed. Then onions, garlic, ginger, spices have to be briefly cooked in oil before adding the tomatoes, shrimp, lemon juice and salt. Cook until shrimp is done. Shrimp should not be overcooked. Garnish with chopped cilantro and dish is done. That simple and easy!

Serve with rice or flatbreads like roti, dhal-stuffed roti or pooris (cook's tip: if you really want to impress someone, pooris would be the way to go :') ). Makes a great main course! Or even as an app with some adult beverages!

For today's photo shoot, I decided to do a play on shrimp cocktail. Let me know what you think of the recipe and the photos in the comments section below!

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Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes


2 lbs frozen shrimp (shell on)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 cup diced onions

1/2 cup sliced onions (optional)

Handful of curry leaves (optional)

2 Thai chilies (optional)

2 tbsp crushed garlic

2 tbsp crushed ginger

2 tsp turmeric

3 tsp garam masala

1/2 can of diced canned tomatoes

Salt to taste

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Handful of chopped cilantro


  1. Thaw and wash frozen shrimp.

  2. On medium heat, add mustard and cumin seeds. As they sizzle, add diced onions, ginger, garlic, chilis and curry leaves. Cook until aromatic. About 1-2 minutes. Add turmeric and garam masala. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add diced tomatoes. Stir.

  4. Add thawed shrimp. Add salt.

  5. Add lemon juice. Stir and cover.

  6. Add sliced onions if using when shrimp are almost done.

  7. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until shrimp is done. Don’t overcook the shrimp.

  8. Garnish with a handful of chopped cilantro.

  9. Serve over rice or with freshly made rotis.

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