Looking for an easy Thai shrimp recipe? Here’s one to surely spice you up. It can also be called a Thai Basil Shrimp Recipe because of the herb’s flavor, but the chili peppers and garlic are just as highlighted in this one. So if you’re in search of Thai spicy shrimp recipes, this is one to have on your list.
Generally, if we cook with shrimp, we’d put the shrimp or prawns in last. But in this recipe, we chose to put the shrimp in first because we want the garlic to soak inside the shrimp throughout the whole cook time.
You can leave out the Thai chili peppers. The fresh peppercorn will still make it internally hot (and give it a slight kick) to retain its healthy fat burning benefits. Traditionally in Thailand, fresh peppercorn herb is known to help burn fat. And sure enough, recent studies confirm it.
The herbs used (fingeroot aka Chinese ginger, peppercorn, Thai Sweet Basil, garlic, Thai chili peppers, Kaffir lime leaves) also give it its signature zesty flavor.
Spicy Thai Shrimp Recipe Details
It burns fat (not just your tongue). And it reduces gas and bloating thanks to the spicy herbs that create a healthy internal heat that is said to help burn fat.
- Health benefits: This recipe helps burn fat. It makes your gas and bloating go away with the spicy herbs that heat you up from the inside, out.
- Main herbs: Fresh peppercorn, garlic, and Sweet Basil.
- Suitable for: Cold weather & if you have gas or bloating.
- The Smell (scent is important in Thai cooking): Basil and Kaffir Lime give it a perfect smell when blended with the scents of fried garlic (the shrimp tastes just as the scent.. no fishiness at all in the shrimp).
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Easy Thai Shrimp Recipe: Spicy, Garlic Stir-Fry
- Cast iron skillet
- 500 grams Shrimp Or Prawns (equivalent to 1/2 lb kilo or 1 lb.)
- 3 tbsp Coconut oil Tasteless, for cooking
- 3 whole Garlic cloves Sliced into small pieces
- 4 whole Thai chili peppers To taste (4 will make it very spicy)
- 3 whole Peppercorns Fresh, whole (Piper nigrum)
- 1 gram Thai Sweet Basil A large pinch of fresh leaves
- 1 gram Kaffir Lime leaves A large pinch of fresh leaves (sliced in the recipe)
- 3 whole Fingerroot 3 whole sticks of it
- ½ whole White onion Half of an onion
- ½ tsp Sea salt Or regular salt
- ½ tbsp Ground pepper Fresh ground pepper is always best
- 1 tbsp Oyster sauce Any oyster sauce
- ½ cup White rice Boiled, served on the side.
The optionals (extra veggies in the fridge)
- ½ whole Carrot Optional, to taste
- 1 grams Mushroom Optional, to taste
- ½ tsp Sugar Optional, to taste (this recipe does not use sugar)
- 2 small eggplant Optional, sliced
- First, put in the coconut oil in the skillet and chop the garlic and chili and put it on the coconut oil. Then put in the garlic on the fried chili and coco oil. Fry a bit to get the smell going the garlic and chili alone.
- Then put the shrimp in and cook the shrimp over medium heat with the garlic and chilis in the coconut oil.
- Once the shrimp starts to turn orange, put in the fresh peppercorn and sliced white onion. You'll want to chop up the fresh peppercorn just a bit to open it up. Then put it in alongside the onion. (onion for sweetness, peppercorn for heat)
- At this point you can place in the optional ingredients, the mushroom, vegetables and sugar.
- Once the carrot got soft, we sliced the finger root and put it in. Then at this point is when you put in the salt, ground pepper, oyster sauce and stir it for 30 seconds. (if you want to add a sweet taste to the dish, at this point you would add some sugar)
- The recipe ends with a quick stir in the fresh herbs. These give the finishing touch smell. If you put the leaves in too early, the smell won’t come out later. Put the chopped kaffir and fresh, and whole basil leaves in around 10 seconds before you turn off the flame.
- Natural sweetness comes from the white onion, so we don’t add sugar. But adding sugar would blend nicely with the spicy shrimp.
- Usually, in Thai food, we’d use fish sauce instead of salt and pepper, but my wife knows me and my preference of salt and pepper:)
- If the dish is starting to look dry, put more water to increase the juiciness. It won’t lessen the flavor, rather will enhance it.
The optional parts:We put added ingredients only for the nutritional value as we ate this for lunch that day. Usually, the optional ingredients from this recipe are not in the standard Thai version of it.
- Sugar (not in this recipe): to taste (optional)
- Small Eggplant: 2 whole, chopped (optional)
- Mushroom: type & amount to taste (optional)
- Carrots: (optional)
Easy Thai Shrimp Recipe Step By Step With More Images
The actual bullet point step by step directions are written above, but here is another quick breakdown of the recipe directions. The first images show all of the ingredients we used, laid out so you can easily see the ingredients in this easy Thai shrimp recipe. Over medium heat in a cast iron frying pan, just cook the coconut oil for a minute before adding in the sliced garlic and chili peppers.
You’ll notice the wonderful, strong smell coming out and at this point you’ll add the raw shrimp or prawns. If you’re indoors, you’ll want to get the ventilation going because the fresh Thai chili peppers sliced then stir-fried will make everyone in the room cough up a storm. It’s no joke.
The carrots, mushrooms and small eggplants are only in this recipe because we had them in the fridge and needed to use them. But normally, this recipe would not have these. However, it’s such an easy Thai shrimp recipe that you can throw random vegetables you also have in the fridge and you may find they blend in perfectly like the carrots and mushroom do. Sugar is another optional ingredient that would pair well with the spice.
The last steps: add fingeroot aka Chinese Ginger (Boesenbergia rotunda) along with oyster sauce, sea salt and ground pepper.
And the very last steps are the Thai Sweet Basil and Kaffir Lime Leaves. Add these in when the dish is finished. Stir them in for a second, turn off the flame, and then serve..
Ling topped off the dish with a bit of sliced Kaffir Lime garnish. If you do this, you can eat the Kaffir Lime raw no problem.
Important recipe notes worth repeating:
- The herbs give the finishing touch scent. If you put the leaves in too early, the smell won’t come out later.
- If you notice the cast iron pan getting dry as you are stir-frying, add in water. This will not water-down the flavor at all. There is so much flavor in this dish that it will just enliven it.
What’s the difference between shrimp and prawns?
Are they genuinely different species of sea creatures? Or are they just two different names for shrimp?
The two are genuinely different. Science-wise, prawns are in the Dendrobranchiata sub-order, and shrimp are in the “Pleocyemata sub-order, but they’re both “decapod crustaceans” with ten legs and an exoskeleton. They both swim around in salt and fresh waters, rummaging the ocean floors for food.
The easiest way to spot the difference is probably their legs. Prawn legs are longer than shrimp legs. And only on two pairs of those legs do shrimp have claws compared to prawn that has claws on three leg pairs.
If you ask the experienced chef, you’ll hear that prawns are more delicious, but for the most part, everyone thinks they taste the same. They can be used interchangeably in recipes like our easy Thai shrimp recipe here. Food & Wine has a good article that talks more about shrimp vs prawns.
Summary: Easy Thai Shrimp Recipe
It’s one of those recipes you can make on a whim using random things in the fridge you want to eat before they go bad.
Carrots, mushroom, onion, eggplant, all of these ingredients we added (except the onion, this one is important to add a sweetness that balances the spice of this dish). Many vegetables you can slice or chop and throw in the iron skillet cooking the shrimp and the tasteless coconut oil, chopped chili peppers, and fresh sliced garlic.
And there you have it. Ling gives up a few of her secrets here, and I hope I translated the making of this Thai shrimp recipe good enough from her explanations.
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NEXT RECIPE: Roselle Juice Recipe: a healthy liver-cleansing drink to help cool you down after eating this spicy shrimp!