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Shrimp Tikka Masala

February 11, 2010

This has been a bit of a funny week, schedule-wise. We tried out for the Food Network on Monday (didn’t make it), I had jury duty on Tuesday (didn’t get on a trial), and then we had a snowstorm (not really) that messed with Elysabeth’s work schedule. It has certainly made an impact on our menu planning and cooking for the week, but I was certain of one thing:

I wanted to make a curry.

I wanted to make some kind of curry, which is not to say we haven’t done them before, but only in slow cookers and usually missing that *zing*. This wasn’t terribly authentic, but it was certainly tasty, and found in my usual daily read, Serious Eats.

I did my best to keep this authentic to the recipe, and even had some help because of a baking mishap from Elysabeth’s baking day on Sunday. She was busy preparing our friend Jess’s graham cracker cookies when she realized that the (name brand) graham crackers didn’t have the proper creases! Unfortunately, she had discovered this when I had already started to melt the butter. What does this have to do with this recipe, you ask? Not wanting to waste, I took the opportunity to make a version of clarified butter (as described in my copy of Good Eats: The Early Years), which this recipe called for!

Anyway, I hope the recipe lives up to the description. I found it tasty, but I think it was mostly because of the amount of butter I ended up using to keep the food from sticking in the dutch oven. Feel free to jazz it up with more heat or whatever strikes you. Enjoy!

Shrimp Tikka Masala (Serves 3-4):

  • 2 tbsp. neutral oil, clarified butter, or ghee (more as needed)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. very finely minced ginger (about a 1-2 inch knob)
  • 2 tbsp. very finely minced garlic (1 large or 2 normal cloves)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 15-20 medium shrimp, deveined and peeled
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • cilantro leaves (optional, to top bowls)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cooked brown rice


  1. Heat butter over medium heat in a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed medium saucepan. Add onion and cook, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes, until onions are golden. It’s ok if they char a bit, just not a lot. Add more butter as needed to keep things moving.
  2. Add ginger, garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, and garam masala and cook for another 3-4 minutes, adding more butter to help things combine well.
  3. Add water, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any brown bits, and keep stirring until everything is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the shrimp. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until shrimp is just cooked through.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt quickly. Adjust seasoning if needed, and serve immediately over rice. Garnish with cilantro and add hot sauce if desired.
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