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Shrimp with Chilies and Mustard Seeds

4 Servings

25 minutes

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This curry-like dish, which uses lightly crushed mustard seeds to amp up the flavor of briny-sweet shrimp, is a riff on recipe from “Madhur Jaffrey’s Step-by-Step Cooking.” The best way to lightly crush the seeds is with a mortar and pestle; alternatively, pulse them 3 to 5 times in an electric spice grinder, but don’t overdo it. It’s fine if some seeds remain unbroken. Though chilies plus mustard seeds sounds like a potent combination, the flavors are nicely balanced. However, if you like chili heat, you may wish to leave some or all of the seeds in the serranos when mincing. Serve with plenty of steamed basmati rice.




Don’t forget to remove the skillet from the heat before adding the tomato paste. This helps prevent the paste from scorching when it hits the hot oil.

25 minutes


  • pounds extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled (tails removed), deveined and patted dry

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper


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Tamsyn J.
May 6, 2024
Simple and Delicious
I made this the other night and my family all thought it was delicious. I wasn't able to find large shrimp at my local food co-op, so I got medium shrimp (frozen). They were advertised as peeled and deveined, but I find I still need to clean the undersides. After purchasing both yellow and brown mustard seeds in small quantities, and tasting both raw, my son and I both agreed the yellow seeds had a more vibrant, less bitter aftertaste. I followed the recipe largely as written -- though used only about three-fourths of a decently sized serrano pepper. I also used a bit less mustard seeds than called for, after reading someone else's comment about bitterness. I did tweak the recipe slightly by decreasing the garlic to just two cloves and adding a little more grated ginger. I also added some finely diced shallots. The flavors blended beautifully -- and I think the lemon splash at the end was essential. I cut a lemon in half and just squeezed that over the finished dish. The only change I'll make next time is to double the shrimp (the pack I purchased was only 12 ounces), and maybe add a vegetable or two to round out. We served it over rice and everyone wanted more. I'll definitely make this again!
Suhail A.
January 16, 2023
Not a fan. Turned out okay
Donald M.

Skipped the chillies. Used pork tenderloin, instead of shrimp. Really good flavour and easy to make!

Michael Y.

This did not work for me at all. I followed the recipe to the letter except that - since I had brown mustard seeds- I put them in the spice grinder for a few seconds since I wasn't sure how to crush them. The dish turned out so bitter it was inedible. Had to throw it away.

Jeanne S.

Excellent! Used one Jalapeno instead of the serrano -plenty spicy enough. Threw in some scallops as well. Crushed yellow mustard seeds - used pestle and mortar. I didn't have any bitter taste- I am not even a mustard person. Very balanced. Served with white Jasmine rice.

Jennifer B.

Excellent, fantastic combination of spices and textures.

Scott P.

I used two serrano chiles, but only half the seeds, and it was plenty (gloriously) hot. Once again, a fine recipe. No real surprises, but a weeknight recipe as good as that at a fine curry house.