This Indian Style Shrimp is packed with flavor and served over a fragrant brown rice. It's easy to make and a totally satisfying dinner!
(This recipe for Indian Style Shrimp and Rice was originally published in February 2013, but was updated with new photos and content in 2021).
One of the worst parts about moving is trying to find the best restaurants for all your favorite cuisines. If you had asked me 15 years ago if I'd ever be obsessed with Indian food, I may have laughed. And it's all because of a, shall we say interesting, experience with carrot cake at an Indian restaurant in London when I was a teenager.
But instead of holding one not so delicious carrot cake against the entire cuisine, I simply learned maybe you shouldn't order carrot cake in an Indian restaurant. Why bother when you can have rice pudding anyway?
Since I moved to the "burbs," I no longer have an amazing Indian restaurant steps away from me (oh how I miss Rani in Coolidge Corner). Now I have to get in a car and drive 12 minutes to a restaurant that's not overly impressive. So, I realize I'm going to have to get cooking Indian food myself more.
I already discovered a killer lamb vindaloo recipe, but it's a wee bit time-intensive. I always have shrimp in my freezer and was inspired by a shrimp recipe I recently found that was packed with Indian spices.
This Indian style shrimp and rice dish is incredibly easy and a quick dinner perfect for a weeknight. It's packed with Indian spices and flavors, but isn't spicy hot!
How to Make Indian Style Shrimp
Don't be intimidated by the seemingly long ingredient list here. A majority of the ingredients are simply spices that you likely have in your spice cabinet already. And if you don't, I recommend getting them because there are a trillion dishes you can make with them!
Start by marinating your shrimp so it can rest while you prep the rice.
In a large ziplock bag, add olive oil, lime juice, garlic, coriander, cumin, mustard, turmeric, and garam masala.
Add shrimp to bag and toss to cover in marinade. Let shrimp marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours (cook the rice while it's marinating!)
Tip: Be smarter than me and use a disposable bag for this shrimp marinade. I've been trying to use reusable bags as much as possible, but forgot that the turmeric would essentially turn my bag yellow forever. Oh well, it's now officially my Indian shrimp marinating bag!
When you're ready to cook the shrimp, Add it to a large wok or skillet with butter over medium heat. Sauté about 2-3 minutes per side, until just cooked through.
Sprinkle cilantro over shrimp.
If you're making this shrimp dish with the rice, I recommend that you prepare the rice while the shrimp is marinating!
How to Make Fragrant Brown Rice
You'll start by making this brown rice on the stovetop and then move it to the oven to finish cooking. Because is involves cinnamon stick and cloves, it has an incredible flavor to it.
If you prefer to use the more traditional jasmine rice, you definitely can!
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and add olive oil to a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.
Add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add chopped onion and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown.
Add garlic and ginger to the pot and sauté for 1 minute. Add in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Add rice, pinch of salt, and 1 Tbsp butter. Bring to a boil, cover pot, and place in oven for 20 minutes.
Remove rice from oven and mix in peas.
Serve the rice in bowls topped off with plenty of shrimp. And sprinkle on some more cilantro if you want.
I know this isn't really traditional Indian food. I'm sure my spice combination isn't totally on target and brown rice isn't actually traditional. But when it comes to easy weeknight dinners, this is an awesome dish.
The shrimp? Holy moly the shrimp. You honestly don't even need rice for this one. You could just eat a pound of shrimp. Or I could have. Is that bad?
Despite not being traditional, this is a good dish to introduce Indian food skeptics to the cuisine. It has loads of spices in it, but isn't spicy per se. Just full-flavored.
Substitutions for Rice
If you prefer not to eat rice, there are lots of other options for serving this Indian style shrimp. I love the fragrant brown rice, but the shrimp is really the star of the show! Here are some more ideas for serving it:
- Cauliflower rice
- Green beans
- Green salad
More Shrimp Recipes
I'm pretty sure I could eat shrimp for dinner every night. And luckily, I have lots of quick and easy shrimp recipes in my arsenal. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Shrimp and Feta Orzo Salad
- Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos
- Shrimp Scampi Pizza
- Tequila Jalapeño Shrimp
- Chilled Mexican Corn Bisque with Shrimp
- Tequila Shrimp Ceviche
- Chili Mango Shrimp Pineapple Fried Rice
- Sheet Pan Shrimp with Fennel, Feta, and Olives (from For Good Measure)
- Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp (from Belly Full)
While going out for really good Indian food is still one of my favorite things, I'm thrilled to have another Indian style recipe I can make at home!
Do you make Indian food at home?
Indian Style Shrimp and Rice
- 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 ½ Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic, divided
- 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground yellow mustard
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups brown rice (or white if you prefer)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, plus more for topping
- 1 cup peas (thawed if frozen)
- In a large ziplock bag, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, lime juice, 1 Tbsp garlic, coriander, cumin, mustard, turmeric, and garam masala. Add shrimp to bag and toss to cover in marinade. Let shrimp marinate while you cook rice (shrimp should marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours).
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.
- Add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add chopped onion and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown.
- Add remaining 1 Tbsp garlic and ginger to the pot and sauté for 1 minute. Add in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Add rice, pinch of salt, and 1 Tbsp butter. Bring to a boil, cover pot, and place in oven for 20 minutes.
- Add shrimp to a large wok or skillet with remaining 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Sauté about 2-3 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Sprinkle cilantro over shrimp.
- Remove rice from oven and mix in peas.
- Serve rice in bowls and top with shrimp and additional cilantro if desired.