Shrimp Curry with Okra and Tomato

Abe Conlon

Fat Rice, Chicago


  • 12 shrimp, large head-on, shell-on
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons, plus more to taste salt
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons Victor’s Curry Paste
  • 1/2 cup whole peeled tomatoes
  • 8 ounces okra
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar        
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 5 sprigs cilantro


Peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the heads and shells. Set the shrimp aside.

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add reserved shrimp heads and shells. Use a wooden spoon to continually mash up the heads and saute until pink and browned, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain, and set aside.

Heat a wide sauté pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season the shrimp to taste with salt and lay evenly in the pan. Sear on one side for 1 minute, then flip and cook on the other side for 1 minute more. Focus on a good sear—don’t worry about cooking them all the way through here. Remove to a plate and add the remaining tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, to bloom the spices for 1 minute. Add the reserved shrimp stock, 2 teaspoons salt, and whole tomatoes; smash up the tomatoes in the pot with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer, then add the okra and black pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain a steady simmer, until the okra is tender but still vibrant.

Add the sugar, cherry tomatoes, lime juice, and reserved shrimp and heat through, about 1 minute to finish cooking the shrimp. Taste and adjust seasoning, then transfer to the serving platter, garnish with cilantro and serve.  


2 servings as a main or 4 in a multi-dish meal