Indian Spiced Shrimp

Indian Spiced Shrimp

The magic in this dish happens in the spice grinder, where all the layers of flavor are brought together before cooking even begins. Serve with brown basmati rice.

From EatingWell: Winter 2004, The EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook (2006), July/August 2012
Yield: 4 servings, 3/4 cup each
Active Time: 15
Total Time: 45


  1. 1 tablespoon yellow split peas
  2. 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  4. 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  5. 1 dried red chile, such as Thai, cayenne or chile de arbol
  6. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  7. 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate, (see Ingredient Note) or 2 tablespoons lime juice
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 pound raw shrimp, (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined
  10. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  11. 1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
  12. 1/4 cup minced, shallots
  13. 1/2 cup water


  1. Toast split peas, coriander, cumin, peppercorns and chile in a large skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the peas turn reddish brown, the spices become fragrant and the chile blackens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until the mixture is the texture of finely ground black pepper.
  2. Combine cilantro, tamarind concentrate (or lime juice), salt and the spice blend in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Do not marinate for more than 2 hours or the acidity in the tamarind will affect the shrimp's texture.)
  3. Heat oil in the pan over medium-high heat; add mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, cover the skillet. As soon as the popping stops, add shallots and the shrimp in a single layer and cook until the undersides of the shrimp turn salmon-pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp and cook until the other side is pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Add water and continue cooking for 1 minute. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Ingredient Note: Highly acidic, tart and complex-tasting tamarind fruit is used extensively in southern Indian cooking. The pulp is extracted and stored in paste form as tamarind concentrate. It is widely available in Indian grocery stores and other ethnic supermarkets. It will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 year. Lime juice is an acceptable substitute.


Nutrition Per Serving: 139 calories; 5 g fat (0 g sat, 3 g mono); 143 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrates; 17 g protein; 2 g fiber; 464 mg sodium; 201 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus:

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 2 lean meat, 1 fat