My Spicy Take On A Southern Classic

Beach On Bald Head Island

When vacationing at our beach home in North Carolina, we enjoy the amazing local sweet shrimp and blue crabs. Typical of low country cooking of this region, shrimp and crab are simply prepared by a quick boil with a handful of Old Bay Seasoning and usually served with tangy tartar or cocktail sauce.

We miss the spicy flavors of Singapore, so I couldn’t help but come up with my own take on peel and eat shrimp. It is just as quick to prepare as the Southern version, but answers to the Asian flavors that my family craves.

Instead of boiling shrimp, this recipe is a quick dry stir-fry with a blend of green onions and garlic seasoned with curry powder and a mildly spicy red curry paste. To top off the spiced shrimp, I add a dab of butter and a squeeze of lemon to bring out flavor and toss the shrimp with fresh cilantro.

Peel And Eat Curry Spiced Shrimp

I serve this dish with a fresh green salad and a crisp white wine and remember why I love summers evenings on the beach with great friends and good food.

Curry Spiced Shrimp

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, deveined but not shelled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Spice mixture
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder or curry powder
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large heavy bottom pan. Once the pan is hot, pat the shrimp dry and add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. (Sear the shrimp in 2 batches if your pan is less than 10 inches in diameter.) Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer and sear until the shell turns crisp and orange in color. Flip the shrimp to sear the other side for 1 minute. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl and reheat the pan over high heat.

When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and saute the garlic, green onions for several seconds. Stir in the spice mixture and saute until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Quickly add the the shrimp back to the pan and stir fry until well combined. Toss in the butter, squeeze of lemon juice and the chipped cilantro and transfer the shrimp to a warm platter and serve.