These tandoori shrimp are marinated in a spiced yogurt mixture then grilled to give a delicious flavor. They're great served simply with naan bread and chutneys, or make them part of a fuller meal.
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Shrimp (or prawns as I grew up knowing them in the UK) are one of those foods that I feel like you have to tread carefully in cooking. Cook them too long, and they go tough, and they can be tricky to get flavor to take hold of.
However, that's not to say it can't be done. Light spicing, with a bit of tenderizing, and a short hot cook make these grilled shrimp skewers turn out perfectly. They're great addition to any barbecue, or add some traditional sides for a street-food style Indian meal.
I first started making these as we were feeling the gap in getting good Indian food locally. Having lived in London and elsewhere in the UK where it's so widely available, and having found favorite place, we felt the gap.
So we make up for it by having some of our favorites like lamb rogan josh and other dishes at home, which I admit I enjoy making anyway.
What is Tandoori food?
Tandoori-style foods are those cooked in a tandoor, a traditionally clay oven which has a coal or wood fire inside. They come in different sizes and these days you'll find ones made with different materials and even electric.
Tandoori cooking is particularly associated with Punjabi cuisine in India and Pakistan, where it is widely adopted. Its popularity elsewhere is largely down to Punjabi moving around the country and beyond.
The ovens are used to cook various meat dishes, and naan is often cooked on the outside walls. As well as the flavor from the fire, certain flavors are often in the marinades of tandoori dishes which gives them a distinct flavor.
Since having a tandoor at home is less typical for most people, grilling works well as an alternative means of cooking. And thankfully, the marinade flavors are easy to make.
These skewers are really easy to prepare as all you do is put the shrimp in a mix of yogurt, ginger, garlic and spices to marinade. Then you simply thread the shrimp on skewers and cook.
Look for a relatively large shrimp for these to be able to thread on to the skewer more easily and not dry out. When you thread them on the skewers, put the skewer through on two places to hold them steadier. I like using the flattened wooden skewers to help save them spinning but remember to soak them before use.
How to serve these shrimp skewers
Here I have served them with peshwari naan bread and cilantro mint chutney, but other chutneys or raita (a yogurt dip, also a favorite) would also be good. If you want to make it into a fuller meal, you could serve them with rice and/or salad and vegetables.
Tandoori shrimp are really easy to prepare and have such a fantastic flavor - there's lots of aromatic spices without it being spicy, and the yogurt helps them to be lovely and moist. I already wonder why I didn't make them sooner. They will definitely be on our menu again and I hope you'll add them to yours.
Try these other international grilling ideas:
- Lamb kofte (mint and aromatic spice-flavored lamb skewers)
- Chicken satay with peanut sauce
- Sosaties (South African apricot and lamb kebabs)
- Plus get more summer recipes in the archives.
Tandoori shrimp (prawns)
- 10 oz raw shrimp 280g prawns (peeled weight)
- ¼ cup plain yogurt 60ml, Greek-style is good
- 1 teaspoon ginger finely grated
- 1 teaspoon garlic finely grated (about 1 large clove)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or lime juice
- ½ teaspoon tandoori masala or garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder or more, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 pinch salt
- Ensure the shrimp/prawns are properly de-veined and cleaned. If they are damp pat them dry. Mix together the yogurt and the rest of the ingredients (ginger, garlic, lemon juice, tandoori/garam masala, chili, turmeric and salt) with the shrimp. Ensure they are well covered and leave to marinade for between 30min to 2hours.
- Soak some skewers (around 4) if using wooden in the meantime, then shortly before ready to cook, thread the shrimp onto the skewers and grill for around 3min on either side until cooked through - they will turn pink. Try to avoid overcooking.
- Suggested serving with naan bread, raita (mix plain yogurt with grated cucumber and a little garam masala and salt) and eg salad, chutney.
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This post was first shared in July 2016 and has been updated, primarily with new photos and video.