Tandoori Shrimp Recipe

Tandoori Shrimp Recipe Recipe

Tandoori shrimp is a seafood dish fit for a feast. The preparation isn't all that complicated; the marinade is the same as for the similarly-named chicken dish. It consists of ginger garlic paste, yogurt, garam masala, turmeric and chili powder. I also add paprika so the color is vibrant without being too spicy. Once the marinade is complete, you can use it for meat, fish or even paneer cheese; you name it. Tandoori paste is a true culinary chameleon.

I made this dish 'way back during the summer and completely forgot to share the recipe. I've been working on an exciting photo project these days (I'll tell you the good news soon!) and found this jumbo shrimp photograph in my image organizer as I was editing my previous food photography work. We made it for a barbecue. It was a very relaxing day and I really didn't want to slave in the kitchen. I just placed the colossal  shrimp in the marinade and my husband's cousin was in charge of grilling. Of course, you don't need to wait for warmer days; simply use a griddle pan and I promise your guests will definitely be in for a treat. 


Yields: 6 servings

18 jumbo shrimp
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste (click on the link for the recipe)
1 tablespoon garam masala (click on the link for the recipe)
⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 limes
¾ cup Greek-style plain yogurt
3 tablespoons canola oil
1-½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1-½ teaspoons red chili powder, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter), melted
2 teaspoons cilantro (leaves and stems), chopped


Prepping the shrimp: Remove and discard the head of the shrimp if it's still attached. Carefully shell and de-vein the black part of the shrimp using a sharp hook-like paring knife, all the way from the head to right before the tail so when it's cooked, the shrimp will open up like a butterfly. Make sure not to remove the tip of the tail (the shell that covers the tail) for easier handling. Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and pat dry using paper towels. Repeat the same procedure for each shrimp. These steps are tedious but essential for pretty results.

For the tandoori paste: Using a cheese cloth, strain out the excess whey of the yogurt for at least 15 minutes (that way the tandoori marinade will have a lower water content for creamier consistency). Add the marinade ingredients (ginger garlic paste, red chili powder, paprika, turmeric powder, black pepper, the juice of 1 lime, garam masala spice mix and oil) and mix together with the yogurt. In a sealable container, combine the tandoori paste and the jumbo shrimp. Seal and shake well. Make sure the tandoori marinade coats and penetrates the shrimp. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Assembly time:

Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. This step will prevent the bamboo from burning on the grill.

Remove the shrimp 15 minutes before cooking to bring them back to room temperature. Reserve the marinade on the side. Pat the shrimp dry one more time with paper towels. Season with salt.

Thread the shrimp onto 6 skewers. Drizzle with a little oil. 

Brush the hot barbecue grill with oil. Arrange the shrimp skewers on the hot grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and transfer to a platter. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes, then baste the seafood with melted ghee. Drizzle with the remaining lime juice and sprinkle cilantro and a little more salt (if necessary).

The shrimp should have a dry crust on the outside and still be very moist on the inside.

Serve the tandoori shrimp on a bed of basmati riceraita (Indian style yogurt sauce) and mint chutney on the side.

Bon appétit!

Grilled Tandoori Shrimp Recipe with Picture


I used flat bamboo skewers (versus the thin cylindrical ones); this shape will prevent the shrimp from rotating by themselves. You could also use metal non-stick skewers; the only down side is that they can get really hot, which makes removing the shrimp from the skewer difficult.

Little reminder on how to make ginger garlic paste (Indian cuisine always calls for it): Clean a piece of fresh ginger, carefully removing any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife or the edge of a spoon, then grate it using a Microplane. Place the grated ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle and add about 1 tablespoon (or more) water for easy grinding. Turn the mixture into a thick paste. 

You could also grill the shrimp using a griddle pan or roast them in a 425°F oven for 10-15 minutes.

While grilling the shrimp, make sure they aren't placed too close to the heat source, as the tail tends to burn very easily.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on April 4, 2012.


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