Shrimp Tikka Masala Recipe

Even if you don't like Indian food, you've probably heard of chicken tikka masala. As one of the most popular dishes on restaurant menus, it's long been a staple in Indian cuisine despite actually being a British-originated dish. Similar to Indian butter chicken, tikka masala is spiced chicken simmered in a creamy tomato gravy. What makes both dishes so popular is the flavorful tomato sauce, which is typically soaked into naan and eaten with spoonfuls of rice. Tikka masala started as a chicken-based dish, but the main protein can easily be swapped for paneer, eggplant, or even tofu. In this recipe written by developer Michelle McGlinn, tikka masala gets an upgrade by using juicy, flavorful spiced shrimp. It has all the flavor you know and love in your favorite Indian takeout but with a pescatarian twist. This recipe is perfect for when you want a little something different. Because it comes together in less than 30 minutes, it's especially perfect for when you want a meal fast.

Gather the ingredients for shrimp tikka masala

First, you'll want to grab a pound of peeled and deveined shrimp. We love juicy, plump jumbo shrimp for saucy simmering, but even medium-sized will do. Next, turn to your spice cabinet for garam masala, paprika, salt, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and chili powder. For an extra-spicy tikka, try Kashmiri chili powder; for milder, leave the cayenne out. From there, you'll need fresh ginger, garlic, and onion, as well as butter, tomato sauce, coconut milk, and cilantro.

Step 1: Season the shrimp

In a bowl, combine the peeled shrimp, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Step 2: Mix seasonings into the shrimp

Mix to coat shrimp evenly.

Step 3: Melt the butter

Melt butter in a deep skillet over medium heat.

Step 4: Cook the shrimp

Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque, about 1–2 minutes per side.

Step 5: Remove and reserve

Remove the shrimp from the skillet and reserve.

Step 6: Saute the aromatics

Add the ginger, garlic, and onion to the skillet and saute until soft, about 1–2 minutes.

Step 7: Stir in the tomato

Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine.

Step 8: Season the sauce

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons garam masala and chili powder, remaining 1 teaspoon paprika and salt, and the cumin, turmeric, and cayenne.

Step 9: Simmer

Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium low and cook until thickened and dark in color, about 3–5 minutes.

Step 10: Stir in the coconut milk

Add the coconut milk, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 4–5 minutes.

Step 11: Stir the shrimp back in

Return the shrimp to the sauce and stir to coat. Cook until warmed through, about 4–5 minutes.

Step 12: Serve

Top with chopped cilantro and serve.

What can I serve with shrimp tikka masala?

In Indian cuisine, it's common to serve curry dishes with naan, a pillowy flatbread authentically made on the walls of a tandoor oven. This soft flatbread is perfect for scooping up the sauce, shrimp, and rice together in one flavorful bite. Many stores sell naan that only needs a quick reheating, but you can also make it yourself pretty easily at home (no tandoor needed). If you can't get your hands on naan, pita bread will work in a pinch — we recommend warming the bread so that it softens. Of course, all curry needs a pot of rice to accompany it, and a lightly spiced pot of basmati will work perfectly here. If you're preparing a feast and need a few side dishes to go with it, you can pair this shrimp tikka with other curries like aloo chaat, matar paneer, and chana masala, or opt for crunchy handhelds such as samosas or pakora. Need something quick and easy? A simple cucumber salad is perfect for calming the shrimp's spice.

How do I store shrimp tikka masala leftovers?

Shrimp tikka masala is easy to store after cooking. Simply add the shrimp and masala to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3–4 days. Store any rice or naan separately to avoid losing texture. Believe it or not, tikka masala also freezes well, even with shrimp. To freeze, let the dish cool, then add it to airtight, freezable containers and store for up to 2 months. To reheat from frozen, let it thaw, then warm gently on the stove or in the oven until warmed through. You can also reheat in the microwave, but heat incrementally to avoid chewy and overcooked shrimp. Because shrimp tikka masala saves well (and tastes even better after a day in the fridge), it makes for a great meal prep. Pair with spiced basmati rice and steamed vegetables for a full meal. If you're really prepared, add a piece of naan to your lunchbox, too.

Shrimp Tikka Masala Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
This dish takes the classic, tomato-based gravy from chicken tikka masala and swaps the poultry for shrimp while retaining all of the original's spicy goodness.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
16
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
shrimp tikka masala in white bowl with white rice
Total time: 26 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 + 2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • 1 + 2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
  • 1 + 1 teaspoons paprika, divided
  • 1 + 1 teaspoons salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
  • Chopped cilantro, for serving‌
Directions
  1. In a bowl, combine the peeled shrimp, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Mix to coat shrimp evenly.
  3. Melt butter in a deep skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook until just opaque, about 1–2 minutes per side.
  5. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and reserve.
  6. Add the ginger, garlic, and onion to the skillet and saute until soft, about 1–2 minutes.
  7. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
  8. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons garam masala and chili powder, remaining 1 teaspoon paprika and salt, and the cumin, turmeric, and cayenne.
  9. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium low and cook until thickened and dark in color, about 3–5 minutes.
  10. Add the coconut milk, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 4–5 minutes.
  11. Return the shrimp to the sauce and stir to coat. Cook until warmed through, about 4–5 minutes.
  12. Top with chopped cilantro and serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 436
Total Fat 32.8 g
Saturated Fat 25.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 205.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.6 g
Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
Total Sugars 4.9 g
Sodium 858.0 mg
Protein 27.4 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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