Jamaican Curry Shrimp is a 30-minute easy recipe bursting with bold Caribbean flavor and tender shrimp. The spicy coconut sauce is so tasty.
Why you’re going to love this Jamaican Curry Shrimp
- It is SO simple, with just curry powder and coconut milk forming the foundation of flavor, but it’s the layering in of slow-cooked onions and peppers, plus the great hit of garlic, that really ramps it up to a dish that explodes with taste.
- This dish can be put together in 30 minutes or so, a mid-week winner, fuss-free.
Jamaican Curry Shrimp ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to put this flavor-buster together:
- Oil. Use your favorite vegetable oil – as a suggestion, try coconut or avocado oil.
- Onion. Yellow onion is a key ingredient in any curry.
- Scallions. Or green onions, as they’re known, add a freshness to the sauce.
- Bell peppers; green and red. If you don’t love bell peppers, don’t worry, I DON’T EITHER. They absolutely melt right into the sauce, caramelizing and softening away with the onions. They don’t have a “peppers in stir fry” vibe; they disappear while adding sweetness and vegetal flavor that you won’t be able quite to put your finger on. Trust me. (Or omit them; I won’t be offended).
- Scotch bonnet pepper. Scotch bonnet peppers are extremely spicy and not always easy to find. The closest pepper to substitute is 1 habanero pepper, but you can use 2 Thai red chilies or 2 green chilies (the curry will be less spicy with these options).
- Salt. I love to use Kosher salt, but pink Himalayan is lovely too.
- Garlic. Use fresh garlic and take care not to burn it when cooking it. Fresh garlic tends to burn quickly if you don’t keep an eye on it.
- Curry powder. Choose your favorite strength; mild, medium, or hot. The curry powder used in Jamaican curries usually includes coriander, cumin, turmeric, allspice, and sometimes fenugreek.
- Coconut milk. I like to use full-fat coconut milk for a silky, creamy sauce.
- Thyme. This aromatic herb adds a distinctive flavor and aroma in Jamaican curry shrimp. You won’t regret it!
- Shrimp. I like to choose plump, juicy shrimp that are on the larger side of the scale. Just ensure you choose uncooked shrimp. Fresh or frozen are fine as long as they are peeled and deveined – you can also do this yourself.
How do you make Jamaican Curry Shrimp?
Following an easy cooking process of the onions and spices, then the coconut milk and the shrimp. It’s a simple process involving a few easy steps.
Here is how to whip up this speedy meal:
- First, heat the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, scallions, green and red peppers, scotch bonnet, or other chili pepper and 1 tsp salt. Cook until very soft, about 15 minutes.
- Next, add in the garlic and curry powder; cook for a minute more.
- Add in the coconut milk and thyme; along with the remaining salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add shrimp and cook for 3-5 minutes until shrimp are just opaque (smaller shrimp take less time to cook, larger ones take longer).
What to serve with Jamaican Curry Shrimp
Scoop up this spicy coconut curry shrimp with a fresh batch of warm Butter naan or simply boil a pot of fresh rice. A fresh Cucumber Mango Salad with Mint Chili Vinagrette would round out the meal with some tropical vibrance. Maybe even finish the meal with some homemade Mango Ice Cream.
Make ahead instructions
You can get all the vegetables cut up and ready to go, and the spices weighed out. This recipe is best served fresh out of the pan as reheating can lead to the shrimp overcooking.
Store your leftover curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2 days.
Is Jamaican curry different from Indian curry?
Jamaican curry is different from Indian curry. Both are delicious and flavorful, and Jamaican curry is heavily influenced by Indian curry, but they have some key differences in taste, ingredients, and cooking methods.
Jamaican curry is typically made with a blend of spices, including coriander, cumin, turmeric, allspice, and sometimes fenugreek, and is commonly cooked with vegetables and meats.
Caribbean cooking has influences from Indian cuisine brought over by Indians who relocated to island nations under the British empire.
Yes, Jamaican curry powder is different from Indian curry powder as it typically contains a blend of spices that includes coriander, cumin, turmeric, allspice, and sometimes fenugreek.
In contrast, Indian curry powder typically contains a blend of spices, including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and ginger. For this recipe, no need to buy a different curry powder. The basic curry powder stocked by North American grocery stores works perfectly.
Pro tips and tricks
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of Jamaican “all-purpose seasoning” for a Jamaican curry shrimp as you’d get it on the island.
- The best way to thaw frozen shrimp is in a large bowl filled with cold water (never warm). You can refresh the water every 10 minutes because it will get colder.
- Don’t rush the first step of letting the onions and pepper soften. Cooking them down fully coaxes out their natural sugars, adding needed sweetness to the curry sauce. It also ensures nobody gets a mouthful of crisp-tender onion. Correctly done, the onions melt right into the sauce and are imperceptible.
Other shrimp recipes you don’t want to miss
- This creamy, nutty, rich Shrimp korma recipe is one of my favorite Indian shrimp dishes.
Jamaican Curry Shrimp
- 4 tbsp oil
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
- 4 scallions green onions finely chopped
- ½ medium green pepper sliced
- ½ medium red pepper sliced
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper minced (or 1 habanero, 2 thai red chillies, or 2 green chillies – see notes)
- 2 tsp kosher salt divided use
- 1 ½ tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 14 oz can coconut milk
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lb peeled deveined shrimp
- Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, scallions, green and red peppers, scotch bonnet, or other chili pepper and 1 tsp salt. Cook until very soft, about 15 minutes.
- Add garlic and curry powder; cook 1 minute more.
- Add coconut milk and thyme along with remaining salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add shrimp and cook 3-5 minutes until shrimp are just opaque (smaller shrimp take less time to cook, larger ones take longer).
Last Updated on March 20, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD