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Pan Seared Shrimp with Indian Spices Recipe

My son absolutely loves seafood, particularly shrimp dishes. This recipe is one of his personal favorites; it is a wonderful combination of delicious Indian flavors. I hope you enjoy it as well. It’s tasty, quick and very easy to prepare. It's a true family favorite, especially with the kids. Feel free to make this dish using your favorite variety of fish or even paneer. This makes for a delicious appetizer or side dish.

Rasam powder is a South Indian spice mix that is easily available in any Indian grocery store. The addition of rasam powder to this dish adds a lovely depth of flavor but is completely optional. I have included a home made recipe for rasam powder, but feel free to buy the ready made version. The MTR brand is my personal favorite.

This basic recipe also works well with fish. Any firm white fish fillet will work (tilapia, sole, cod, halibut, flounder, pollock, grouper, mahi-mahi, sea bass…). Just cut the fish into 1.5” pieces and add only 1 tbsp or cornstarch along with 1 tbsp of rice flour - then follow the recipe as written.

RASAM POWDER (South Indian Spice Mix)


½ cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
¼ cup chana dal (split chickpeas)
8-10 fresh curry leaves
5-6 dried red chilies, to taste
2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi seeds), optional
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
good pinch of asafetida (hing)


Dry roast, let cool and grind to a fine powder. Store in the pantry for up to 1 month and in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.


PAN SEARED SHRIMP with Indian Spices


1 lb shrimp (medium-large size), peeled & de-veined, tail-on
2 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp rasam powder (optional)
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
oil as needed, vegetable or canola
lemon or lime wedges


Rinse the shrimp, drain well and pat dry.

In a shallow baking dish, combine the cornstarch with the spices (turmeric, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, paprika, rasam powder, garam masala, red chili powder, salt and pepper). Mix well to combine and add all the shrimp so they have a light and even dusting of the seasoned cornstarch and spices. Now add 1 tbsp of oil and mix well to coat. Let sit for 5-6 minutes before use.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Cast iron skillets are absolutely perfect for this recipe, so if you have one, by all means, use it. When hot, add a tbsp or so of the oil and swirl it around so the bottom of the skillet is evenly coated. Carefully add a few of the shrimp in a single layer. This may need to be done in batches. Cook each shrimp for just a few minutes on one side, then carefully turn the shrimp and let it brown on the other side for just 30-45 seconds. Do not overcook. You can add a little oil if needed. The outside of the shrimp should be golden brown and slightly crispy while the inside should be fully cooked yet still succulent. Remove the shrimps from the skillet, drain well on a paper towel. Garnish with lemon or lime wedges, serve hot as a side dish or serve them as an appetizer with your favorite chutneys and sauces.


For a subtle tart flavor, sprinkle some lightly toasted & cracked pink peppercorns over the top just before serving.

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