This easy, authentic Indian Shrimp Korma (also known as Prawn Korma) recipe is a delicious Indian shrimp curry with tomato, yogurt, cream, nuts and warming spices.
Packed with flavor, but made in just 30 minutes, you’re going to fall totally in love with this fabulous shrimp recipe, best served with a pile of my Instagram-viral soft homemade Butter Naan.
(And if you love creamy Indian curry recipes, you absolutely MUST also try my incredible Chicken Korma, Butter chicken, Butter Paneer, Madras Lentils and Malai Kofta recipes. For more yummy shrimp, try my Jamaican Curry Shrimp and Boom Boom Shrimp next!)
What is Shrimp Korma Curry?
Shrimp Korma (or Prawn Korma) is a delicious and flavorful dish from India that features shrimp cooked in a creamy and aromatic curry.
The sauce is typically made by blending together a variety of spices such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala with onions, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes. The mixture is then simmered with cream (or coconut milk), yogurt and/or nuts resulting in a rich and creamy dish.
Shrimp Korma is often served with steamed rice or naan bread and is a popular dish in Indian cuisine, particularly in coastal regions where seafood is abundant.
Why You’ll Love This Authentic Indian Prawn Korma Recipe
- Easy to whip up, this is a wonderful Indian curry recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients or fancy cooking skills.
- The creamy Korma sauce is so delicious and pairs beautifully with the lightness of the shrimp or prawns.
Shrimp or Prawn Korma Ingredients
- Ghee or oil. Use Indian ghee (clarified butter) for a richer flavor if you’ve got it on hand, or reach for a neutral oil like avocado oil with a high smoke point that can handle the spices cooking.
- Onion. A regular white onion is perfect for this recipe; you can use red onion if you’d prefer.
- Shrimp or Prawns. I love to buy the biggest shrimp or prawns I can find for this. Avoid using super little ones, as they get a bit lost in the sauce. Read more about the difference below.
- Fresh ginger. Bright and zingy in the sauce, I like to take my time finding the freshest-looking piece in the store. Ones with a little green shoot popping out are usually a safe bet.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic or garlic paste is perfect for this dish.
- Chilies. You can choose to leave these out if their heat is a bit much.
- Coriander powder. It adds distinctive flavor, don’t skip this element.
- Cayenne powder. You can leave this out if you don’t like heat, or switch it out for paprika.
- Cinnamon. Earthy and sweet, this spice grounds the cream a little.
- Cardamom pods. Find the brightest green pods you can; this is a good sign that they’re fresh. You can alternatively use ground cardamom.
- Tomato puree. You can use diced tomatoes or bottled passata if you like.
- Almond butter. Korma almost always includes nuts in some form. I find almond butter gives the creamiest mouthfeel and a lovely nutty taste to the sauce. Don’t skip this ingredient. You could also try this with cashew butter. You could swap in finely-chopped almonds or cashews if you prefer more texture.
- Yogurt. Choose a plain dairy or coconut yogurt.
- Whipping cream. Aka double, 35% milkfat. Don’t choose a skinny cream for this recipe. You want a cream with real curves. Or you can use coconut milk if you prefer.
- Shrimp. I love to buy the biggest shrimp I can find for this. Avoid using the super little ones, as they get a bit lost in the sauce. Frozen shrimp work perfectly, just thaw in a bowl of lukewarm water while you prepare the rest of the curry.
- Cilantro. Aka dhania or coriander. All the same thing, all absolutely delicious.
What exactly is the difference between shrimp and prawns?
Shrimp and prawns are both types of shellfish. In the United States and North America in general, the term “prawn” is often used to describe freshwater shrimp, while the term “shrimp” is used to describe saltwater species. In other countries, the terms are used interchangeably or may have different meanings. Here are some differences:
- Anatomy: Shrimp have claws on two of their five pairs of legs, while prawns have claws on three of their five pairs of legs.
- Size: Generally, prawns are larger than shrimp, with prawns being around 6 to 8 inches in length while shrimp are usually around 3 to 6 inches in length.
- Flavor: Prawns have a sweeter and more delicate flavor, while shrimp have a slightly stronger flavor.
- Texture: Prawns have a firmer and meatier texture, while shrimp are softer and more tender.
- Habitat: Prawns are found in freshwater or brackish water, while shrimp are found in both freshwater and saltwater.
While they are not exactly the same thing, either shrimp or prawns can be used to make this yummy Indian korma curry.
How To Make This Creamy Shrimp Korma
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat and cook onions with one spoon of salt until very soft and deep golden brown, about 25 minutes. Try not to don’t rush this step; it’s important for flavor development.
- Add in the garlic, ginger, and chilies and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Stir in the garam masala, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, and cardamom pods and cook for a minute longer.
- Stir in the tomato puree, almond butter, water, and the remaining teaspoon of salt; cook until oil bubbles and shimmers on top.
- Pop in the shrimp; cook, covered, for about 5 minutes or until opaque, then stir in the yogurt and cream to heat through. Top with cilantro and enjoy.
What To Serve With This Shrimp Korma
For a special dinner, you’ll definitely want to whip up a batch of this viral Butter Naan. If you’re having friends over, I highly recommend starting with a pot of steaming authentic Indian Chai, and a batch of crispy golden samosas (you could either do these incredible potato samosas or my favorite chicken samosas). Or you could impress with a batch of Keema Naan to start (they’re soft naan stuffed with spiced meat filling).
Make Ahead Instructions
If you’re looking to save time, you can make this recipe up to the point of cooking the shrimp. In other words, make the sauce and then set the pan aside until you’re ready to serve the dish.
When you’re ready to go, gently heat the sauce on the stove and pop in the shrimp.
You can store any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. Ensure the curry is cool before packing it up. It will need to be stored in an airtight container.
You can freeze leftovers if you have any; just keep in mind the texture of the curry sauce might be a little different in texture after thawing.
Variations of Shrimp or Prawn Korma Curry
- Veggie korma. Swap out the shrimp for veggies such as peas, carrots, mushrooms, sweet potato, chickpeas, bell pepper, spinach, or cauliflower.
- Chicken korma. You can switch the shrimp to chicken pieces; you’ll just need to adjust the cooking time.
- Whole nuts. Add whole almonds or cashew nuts to this recipe and allow them to simmer and soften in the sauce
- Add other spices to play around with the flavor; you can experiment with turmeric, curry powder, and cumin.
- Spicier version. Add some chopped red chillies or kashmiri chili powder.
It’s made with warming Indian spices, a bit of heat, and a creamy sauce that typically includes nuts, yogurt and cream.
Tikka masala is usually a base of a rich, spicy, bold tomato sauce while korma is a slightly sweet and creamy curry sauce.
There is another kind of korma that is white in color, has little spice, and is sweet in flavor. Not to be confused with this tomato-based korma, which has a little sweetness from the slow-cooked onions, but just enough to balance the flavor-packed curry.
Pro Tips and Tricks
- The mixture will look thick before you add the shrimp but the shrimp release moisture as they cook. I prefer not to add too much water, which dilutes the flavor. If it’s still too thick after the shrimp are cooked, you can add a splash or two of water, tasting and adjusting for salt as needed.
- Make sure the spices have enough time to bloom in the pan before you add the liquid ingredients.
- Pick a bag of large shrimp for the best results.
Other Indian Recipes You Won’t Want To Miss
If you love Shrimp Korma, I’m sure you’ll love some of these other flavor-packed, fan-favorite Indian recipes! This creamy, comfort food vibe of this recipe is like my Best Butter Chicken and Butter Paneer recipes to start. For a creamy vegetarian dish, you can’t miss my Creamy Madras Lentils. Here are a few other can’t-be-missed recipes:
Shrimp Korma (Indian Prawn Korma) Recipe
- ¼ cup ghee or vegetable oil
- 2 ½ cups finely chopped onion
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 green chillies
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp cayenne powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 10 whole green cardamom pods smashed with flat side of knife
- ½ cup tomato puree
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup yogurt
- ¾ cup whipping cream or coconut milk
- 1 ½ lbs large shrimp or prawns peeled and deveined (tail on is ok)
- 1 tbsp finely minced cilantro
- Heat oil over medium heat and cook onions with 1 tsp salt until very soft and deep golden brown, about 20 minutes (don't rush this step, it's important for the flavour).
- Add garlic, ginger and chillies and cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Stir in garam masala, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon and cardamom pods and cook a minute more.
- Add tomato puree, almond butter and water plus remaining 1 tsp salt; cook until oil starts to bubble up and shimmer on top. Stir in shrimp; cook, covered, about 5 minutes or until opaque, then stir in the yogurt and cream to heat through. Top with cilantro.
- Choose large, plump prawns or shrimp for the best eating experience possible.
- If the sauce looks a bit thick at first, give the prawns time to release their moisture as they cook down a little, before jumping in and adding more water to the sauce. You don’t want to dilute that yummy flavor!
- Instead of tomato puree, you can use: diced fresh tomato or use jarred passata
Last Updated on May 8, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD