Garlic Shrimp In Coconut Milk Recipe

Aromatic and creamy, this garlic shrimp in coconut milk recipe provides a gentle introduction to Thai cooking at its finest. Enveloping succulent shrimp in aromatic garlic, creamy coconut milk, and a host of spices and aromatics results in a slightly sweet, pungent, and nuanced dish that feels luxurious with every bite.

According to Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, this dish carries a rich history rooted in the vibrant culinary tapestry of Thailand. The use of coconut milk in curries is believed to have originated as a practical response to the tropical climate of Thailand, where coconuts are abundant. The creamy, tropical richness of coconut milk pairs harmoniously with various spices, herbs, and ingredients, resulting in the distinctive and flavorful Thai curries we know today.

By following this easy recipe, you'll be well on your way to recreating an authentic Thai dining experience in the comfort of your own kitchen. So pour yourself a glass of Tiger beer, preheat your wok, and let's get cooking!

Gather the Ingredients for Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk

To make this basic Thai-inspired recipe, you will first and foremost need nice, plump shrimp. To build their flavor, we will need salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, and garlic cloves. For the rich coconut curry sauce, we will need butter, vegetable oil, a small onion, full-fat coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, chopped cilantro, chile flakes, scallion, and an optional small red chile, if you like things hot. These ingredients combine to give layers of flavor to the dish, from the succulent shrimp to the aromatic garlic and the rich creaminess of coconut milk, resulting in a satisfying and slurp-worthy broth.

Cook the Shrimp

We will start by searing the shrimp with a few aromatics on their own, key to building the dish's flavor. In a bowl, combine the shrimp with salt, black pepper, paprika, and one minced garlic clove. This seasoning will infuse the shrimp with a rich taste that is sweet, salty, spicy, and pungent.

Heat a pan with oil and butter over high heat for a quick sear. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook it for about 1 minute on each side. This step locks in moisture and creates a slightly crispy exterior, enhancing the shrimp's texture and intensifying the overall taste. Once done, remove the shrimp from the pan and set them aside.

Make the Coconut Curry

Lower the heat to low and add the remaining minced garlic, ginger, and chopped onion to the pan. This forms the aromatic base of the curry. After around 3 minutes of cooking, when the kitchen is filled with fragrant scents, it's time to introduce the coconut milk. This creamy component provides the actual sauce that envelopes everything. Add fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice and let them simmer for 2 minutes. Continue by adding lemongrass, scallions, and chile flakes to take the aromatics to another level, contributing layers of depth and a subtle hint of heat. Let them cook for another 2 minutes.

Garnish and Serve Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk

With the flavors fully developed, add chopped cilantro, sliced red fresh chile, and a hit of freshly ground black pepper. Let everything simmer for another minute, allowing the shrimp to absorb the delicious curry essence. This final touch further colors and adds an extra kick to the garlic shrimp in coconut milk. The result is a mouthwatering and authentic Thai dish that tastes so much better than the neighborhood take-out restaurant. 

Your flavorful garlic shrimp in coconut milk is ready to be eaten immediately, though the shrimp will taste even better the next day, once it's had more time to get comfortable in the sauce. Whenever you serve it, garlic shrimp in coconut milk will provide a delightful taste of Thai cuisine right in your own kitchen. Accompany it with jasmine rice, some Thai smashed cucumber salad, and a glass (or two) of refreshing Thai iced tea.

Garlic Shrimp In Coconut Milk Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
Enveloping succulent shrimp in garlic and creamy coconut milk, this recipe offers a nuanced dish that feels luxurious with every bite.
Prep Time
Cook Time
shrimp in coconut curry sauce with scallions and chilli
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 5 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz/400 ml) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1-inch piece of lemongrass, minced finely
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ tsp chile flakes
  • 1 Scallion, diced, for serving
Optional Ingredients
  • 1 small red chile, diced, for serving, optional
  1. In a bowl, mix shrimp, salt, black pepper, paprika, and 1 garlic clove. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a big pan on high. Add shrimp in a single layer. Sear for 1 minute on each side.
  3. Lower heat to low. Add the remaining minced garlic, ginger and chopped onion to the pan. Cook for around 3 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
  4. Pour the coconut milk into the pan. Stir in fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add lemongrass, scallions, and chile flakes, and let cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add cilantro and return shrimp to the pan. Stir and simmer for 1 more minute until heated through.
  6. Top with more cilantro, fresh red chile rings, and a pinch of black pepper. Serve immediately.
  7. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Calories per Serving 376
Total Fat 28.3 g
Saturated Fat 20.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 190.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.2 g
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g
Total Sugars 2.3 g
Sodium 611.5 mg
Protein 25.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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