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Steamed Herbed Shrimp in Coconut Milk

slideshow Amazing Seafood Recipes

  • Servings: 6 First-Course Servings

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  • 18 medium shrimp, shelled
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, plus a pinch
  • 1 cup thick unsweetened coconut milk (See Note)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 fresh red Thai chiles—1 minced, 1 thinly sliced (See Note)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass, white bulb only (See Note)
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamarind concentrate dissolved in 1/2 tablespoon boiling water (See Note)
  • 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (See Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves


  1. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon of the lime juice, 1 teaspoon of the minced shallots and the pinch of turmeric. Let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, beat the coconut milk with the egg. Stir in the remaining lime juice, shallots and turmeric, plus the minced chile, lemongrass, tamarind liquid, fish sauce, sugar and salt. Pour the mixture into six 1/2-cup ramekins or heatproof bowls and set 3 shrimp in the center of each. Arrange the ramekins on a wide rack set in a wok or large saucepan over 2 inches of simmering water. Wrap foil around the rack to secure, if necessary. Cover the wok and steam over low heat until the custard is just set and the shrimp are cooked, about 8 minutes. Garnish with the chile slices and coriander and serve.


Thick unsweetened coconut milk, Thai chiles, lemongrass, tamarind concentrate and Thai fish sauce are available at Asian markets, well-stocked supermarkets and specialty food stores.

Published October 1996

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