Jamaican Curry Shrimp brings the flavors and tastes from the Caribbean island of Jamaica into your own home. The easy recipe can be on your table in 30 minutes making it perfect for a weeknight meal.
This delicious Jamaican curry shrimp has a warm and robust flavor without being hot. It is different from Indian or South Asian curries, especially those traditionally served in Britain, because Jamaican curry powder contains allspice and has less heat than curry powders from other countries. While somewhat spicy, this recipe is not hot as it gets its taste solely from the curry powder. You can easily adjust the curry to your own heat preference by either adding some hot pepper sauce or a fresh chopped scotch bonnet or habanero pepper to the recipe if you really want to go for the heat.
While not all Jamaican curries call for coconut milk, it does add a wonderful flavor and richness to this island recipe. I like to serve this Jamaican shrimp curry, which is a little spicy and rich tasting, over rice and then garnished with sliced green onions and a wedge of lime.
Jamaican Curry Shrimp
Recipe serves two, adjust the recipe accordingly.
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil or butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. Jamaican curry powder or to taste * see note
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 green onion (scallion) sliced for garnish
- sliced limes (optional)
Note: For an authentic flavor, use Jamaican curry powder. If you can’t locate it where you live, you can use Madras curry power and add some allspice but know that the flavor will be different. Instead of a yellow color, it will be darker and spicer because of the red pepper found in Madras.
Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent. Add the curry powder, mix well, and cook about a minute. Pour in the coconut milk, stir well, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomato, thyme, salt and pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and simmer in the sauce until they are firm, pink, and cooked through, about 5 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Make sure to not overcook or the shrimp will be tough. Spoon the shrimp curry on top of cooked rice, if you wish, and garnish with green onions and a slice of lime.
Jamaica is the first Caribbean island that I’ve visited where the food really impressed me. Huge succulent shrimp, known locally as “janga”, that were almost the size of small lobsters served in an upscale restaurant. Homestyle curried goat served under florescent lights at formica tables in a tiny shop where the locals ate. The most memorable meal, however, was jerk chicken that was being sold at an open air shack at a road’s edge that was recommended by a local. The chicken was smoked in a pit over pimento wood logs under a piece of corrugated roofing metal, chopped then sold by the quarter, half or full pound and eaten with your fingers. The chicken was charred yet moist, smokey and savory from the herbs and spices of the jerk seasonings. Needless to say, there was a scotch bonnet jerk sauce if you wanted to eat it like the locals…really hot. One small spoonful made your eyes water and your nose run. My curry shrimp recipe won’t do that.
When you want a quick and easy weeknight dinner, think about this Jamaican curry shrimp recipe. Served over a bed of rice with a squeeze of lime juice, it will bring the flavors and tastes of the Caribbean to your own kitchen table. Have some reggae music playing in the background, open a bottle of Red Stripe beer and perhaps this delicious curry will inspire you to start planning a tropical vacation to the island of Jamaica.