Recipe: Red Curry with Shrimp

Spring in Vancouver, 2018. I know it has nothing to do with curry, I'm just tired of winter here
in Toronto. Spring in Vancouver, 2018. I know it has nothing to do with curry, I'm just tired of winter here in Toronto.

I made a red curry with shrimp for the second time, making sure to incorporate modifications from the first attempt. It was so good that I knew I had to save it here for future me and for anyone else that enjoys cooking or eating Thai food.

I'll start by sharing a picture of the finished meal. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take one until I already started eating so it lacks that picturesque composition with the unadulterated garnishes resting on top.

Red curry

Servings: 4 hungry adult portions.

Cook time: The curry takes roughly 20 minutes to cook. The homemade shrimp stock takes 45 minutes to cook. You'll have to factor in prep time based on your past cooking experiences.

Shrimp Stock

The most flavourful stock is created from shelled shrimp. If you can't find that then you can use deshelled shrimp tails. It's less flavour though, so you'll likely want to make less stock. I've included both options below.

Shelled Shrimp:

  • Yields ~12 cups of stock
  • 1 lbs (~8 cups) shrimp shells
  • 16 cups water
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns (ground pepper is fine)
  • 2 tsp salt

Deshelled Shrimp:

  • Yields ~4 cups of stock.
  • 1 lbs (~8 cups) shrimp; remove the tails and set aside 1.5 cups of shrimp for the curry
  • 4.5 cups of water
  • 0.5 tsp black peppercorns (ground pepper is fine)
  • 0.5 tsp salt

Other ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  1. Collect the shells or tails if you don't have shelled shrimp, and rinse under cold water.
  2. Add all ingredients to an appropriately sized pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer. Partially cover. Cook for 45 mins.
  4. Periodically skim off any foam that builds on the surface. It'll likely be brownish-grey in color.
  5. Once done, strain the contents into a bowl/container, completely cool it immediately via an ice bath.
  6. You can store the stock in the fridge for three days or freeze for two months. Set aside for now.


  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 cups shrimp stock
  • 1/4 - 1/2 lbs raw shrimp
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced or diced
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp galangal, minced/grated (can substitute with regular ginger)
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced and de-seeded
  • 4-8+ mushrooms of your choosing, chopped
  • 1 (400 mL or 13.5 oz) can of regular or light coconut milk (I use the regular Thai Kitchen brand)
  • 3 tbsp red curry paste - it'll be a bit spicy so use less if you want a milder curry (I used premade paste from AROY-D and I'm sure a homemade paste would be even better!)
  • 2 tsp fresh lemongrass, finely minced (just shy of 1 stock; it's OK to add the entire stock)
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar (can substitute with brown sugar, and/or add more sugar to sweeten the curry)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves (can substitute with lime juice; not sure how much to use so you'll have to experiment)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • salt n' peppa
  • Handful of fresh Thai basil leaves
  • Rice or rice noodles

Other ideas to try: carrots, sweet potato, snap peas, broccoli. You can also substitute the shrimp stock with chicken stock and the shrimp with chicken or tofu.


  • Red chili pepper, diced
  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime wedges

  1. Start prepping ingredients while the stock is boiling. You may also want to get your rice going now depending on how long that takes to cook. Keep in mind that the curry takes around 20 minutes. When the stock is cooled proceed with the next steps.
  2. In a large bowl whisk shrimp stock, 13.5 oz coconut milk, and 2 tsp lemongrass until the coconut milk clumps are gone. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1.5 tbsp olive oil in a medium/large soup pot or a deep sauce pan on medium heat. Once hot, cook 1 large onion, 3-5 garlic, 2tsp galangal/ginger and a little salt for about 5 minutes or until the onions start to become translucent. Periodically stir so that the contents don't burn.
  4. Stir in 3 tbsp curry paste and cook for 2 mins, frequently stirring. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to smush the curry so that it evenly cooks.
  5. Stir in the stock & coconut mixture from step 1. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add 1 red pepper, 4-8+ mushrooms, 1/4 - 1/2 lbs shrimp and 3 of 5 kaffir lime leaves (or substitute lime juice). Cook until the shrimp turns pink, about 2-4 minutes.
  7. Add 1 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp palm/brown sugar, and season with salt & pepper to your liking. Stir and remove from heat.
  8. Tear basil into halves if the pieces are large. Add to curry along with the remaining 2 lime leaves.
  9. Cover the pot and let it rest for 5-10 minutes to let the flavours develop.
  10. Serve the curry with rice or noodles and garnish with cilantro, green onions and chili if you like it extra spicy. Optionally squeeze a lime over the bowl, although I didn't bother because the lime leaves were sufficiently zesty.
  11. Eat it.

I hope you enjoy this curry! Leave a comment if you give it a try and tell me how it was.

Published March 13, 2019