This Tandoori Shrimp recipe represents the best of my native Pakistan, as well as my chosen home of 20 years, the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The spicy, traditional, yogurt based tandoori marinade pairs perfectly with the earthy taste of the Gulf Coast Shrimp.
Since this recipe is often made with tiger shrimp back home, the meaty texture of the Gulf Shrimp replicates that texture fairly well.
What Is Tandoori?
When the word tandoori is used in recipes, the reference is to a cooking technique. As per www.britannica.com, tandoori cookery is an Indian method of cooking over a charcoal fire in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven. The marinade is usually yogurt based and the meat is placed on skewers and cooked in the clay oven at intensely high heat.
Of course, since all of us don't have clay ovens at home, we've learned to improvise. Today, the term tandoori implies the yogurt based marinade but the cooking technique can be one of many. The most popular modern method is to use a gas grill, although at times an oven or pan has to suffice.
My preferred method when making tandoori shrimp is always a grill. But since weather doesn't always permit, I often end up cooking these shrimp indoors. A grill pan yields excellent results, but if you don't have one just use a good quality frying pan.
The Recipe For Tandoori Shrimp
Whereas most tandoori masala includes garam masala as an ingredient, I'm personally not a huge fan. You're welcome to add ½ a teaspoon of your favorite blend to the below ingredients if you'd like to.
The main component in the marinade is the yogurt, which tenderizes and helps keep the shrimp moist as they cook. The lemon, ginger and garlic combine to add some much needed flavor to the meat.
As for the spice blend; the cumin, coriander and carom seeds help counter any fishy smell. Of the 2 chili powders, the red chili powder provides the spiciness and the kashmiri red chili powder adds the vibrant color.
A quick mix is all it takes to get the marinade together. Although the yogurt has the much needed fat for added moisture, I like to add a little bit of avocado oil as well at this point.
Mix the shrimp in well with the marinade and refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking.
A marinade longer than 30 minutes can start to make the outer layer of the shrimp mushy, so is not recommended.
The citrus in the marinade can also start to cook the shrimp if left on for too long. This can make the shrimp chewy once seared.
How To Eat The Shrimp
Some suggestions for how to serve and enjoy the shrimp.
Place approximately 2 shrimp on a mini naan, top with some pickled onions (instructions in the recipe card below), drizzle with a little cilantro-mint-chutney, add a cilantro garnish and enjoy.
Storing & Reheating
I usually don't make a huge quantity of these at a time as they don't store well. Reheated shrimp get stringy and chewy. Infact, it's best to eat any leftovers cold rather than reheating them.
Hope you enjoy this recipe! Please rate and comment below to let me know how it goes!
- 1 lb shrimp (SEE NOTES)
- 1 cup yogurt
- ¼ cup avocado oil (SEE NOTES)
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 lemon
- 1 tsp carom seeds
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ red onion
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- The shrimp should weigh 1 lb after it has been peeled and deveined
- Mix all of the remaining ingredients and marinate the shrimp in them for no more than 30 minutes (SEE NOTES)
- Preheat a skillet or grill pan
- Brush with a little bit of oil once the pan is well heated and place ½ of the shrimp on the pan, leaving a little distance in between
- Sear on each side for no more than 2-3 minutes, cook the remaining ½ and serve with the pickled onions and some cilantro chutney
- Finely slice the half onion and soak in the distilled vinegar
- Soak for a minimum of 2 hours in order for the onions to get pickled