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Grilled Tandoori Shrimp

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It just wouldn’t be summer without making my Grilled Tandoori Shrimp. For some reason I always think to make this recipe toward the end of summer. It could be made any time of year but cooked on the barbecue is my favourite method.

Tandoori takes it’s name from the tandoor oven used in India  but tandoori seasoning is a unique and delicious combination of yogurt and spices. The recipes vary from family to family and can be used on different meats and vegetables. If you like the flavours you can try this Tandoori Chicken or this Whole Roasted Cauliflower which are each a bit different.

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Organize For Success – Tandoori Shrimp

Good prep is the key to successfully cooking seafood. In this recipe the shrimp are marinated for a short time in lime juice and spices. Seafood will actually cook if left long enough in an acidic mixture like lime juice. A general rule of thumb is to marinate shellfish for no longer than fifteen to thirty minutes. Prep the marinade and the yogurt-spice mixture separately and leave the mixing until you are almost ready to cook.

Shrimp Know How

Living in land-locked Alberta, Canada I like to keep frozen shrimp on hand for an easy meal or appetizer. I can thaw them quickly by tossing them into a bowl of water while I decide what I’m cooking for dinner. 

In this recipe I gently loosen the shrimp shells leaving the tail intact. This allows maximum coverage of the marinade and sauce. The result is a finger licking, delicious shrimp experience. I have tested this recipe with and without shells and the verdict is that leaving the shells on improves the taste experience. In your kitchen you can prepare them with or without the shells.

Spices for Tandoori Shrimp

East Indian recipes often call for large amounts of spices compared to the way spices are used in other cuisines. They also use a lot of whole seeds like cumin seed, coriander seed, fennel seed, mustard seed and more.

A mortar and pestle is good for small jobs like crushing some spices or making a paste but for grinding spices I highly recommend an electric spice grinder.

Here is one of my kitchen hacks for managing spices; buy whole spices. I buy whole cumin seed and coriander seed. Since I make recipes calling for these spices both ground and whole I keep a spice bottle of each in my spice drawer. When my ground cumin is low I simply use a spice grinder to make more and refill my bottle. It may sound like an extra step so just balance that idea with how many bags of spices you are storing in your pantry. If you don’t have a spice grinder you can also do this in a coffee bean grinder.

More Shrimp Recipes

Let me know in the comments below if you made this and left the shrimp shells on.


2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
¼ tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1½ lbs shrimp, shell on
¼ cup yogurt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
FINISHING – 1-2 limes, cut in wedges
COOKING – oil for grilling


SAUCE – Combine yogurt and spices in a 1-cup measuring cup and set aside.
MARINADE - Combine marinade ingredients in shallow bowl large enough to hold the shrimp.
Carefully loosen the shrimp shells from the meat leaving them attached.
Add shrimp to marinade and let marinate for 15-30 minutes, while you preheat the barbecue.
Remove shrimp from marinade. Gently toss with half the yogurt mixture.
To cook either skewer shrimp or use a grilling rack.
Brush shrimp with oil and grill until lightly charred and pink, turning once, about 3 minutes.
Remove from grill, toss with remaining yogurt mixture. Garnish with lime wedges and serve immediately.


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