Bunjal Shrimp Curry is juicy jumbo shrimp cooked in a thick curry sauce. This aromatic dish is an easy dinner entree that’s packed with tons of mouthwatering Carribean flavor.
Bunjal Shrimp Curry
Bunjal Shrimp is a family favorite so I make it at least once a month. I first started making it when I was newly married. At that time I didn’t eat shrimp but my husband was (and still is) a huge seafood fan.
Why You’ll Love This Bunjal Shrimp Curry Recipe
- Quick & Easy: This curry takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish (provided you don’t have to peel and devein the shrimp). This makes it the perfect anytime dish.
- Flavorful: This is no boring shrimp recipe! It’s loaded with traditional madras curry flavors.
- Reason: Explanation
What is Bunjal?
Bunjal (sometimes spelled Bhunjal) is the Guyanese term for any curry that is cooked down without any sauce. It is a dry curry of sorts. But I think that Bunjal is a distortion of the Bengali word Bhuna which typically refers to cooking meat in a dry curry paste.
- Bunjal Shrimp Curry
- Why You’ll Love This Bunjal Shrimp Curry Recipe
- What is Bunjal?
- Ingredients for Bunjal Shrimp Curry
- How to Make Bunjal Shrimp Curry
- Tips for the Best Bunjal Shrimp Curry
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Bunjal Shrimp Curry
Ingredients for Bunjal Shrimp Curry
All you need to make this is 1 pound of shrimp, oil, onions, and your favorite spices to make a delicious curry.
- Shrimp: Deveined and peeled (with tail on). For this recipe, I am using jumbo shrimp (Guyanese and Caribbean people often refer to these as prawns).
- Oil: Use vegetable oil, avocado oil, or peanut oil to cook the shrimp.
- Small yellow onion: This adds an aromatic quality that intensifies the overall taste.
- Spices & Seasoning: granulated garlic, curry powder (preferably madras curry powder), dried thyme, roasted ground cumin (geera), black pepper (or cayenne pepper), garam masala, and salt
- Water: This is an optional ingredient to use if the sauce gets too thick.
To Wash the Shrimp
- Juice of a lime
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Bunjal Shrimp Curry
Preparing the Shrimp
Before cooking shrimp I always add salt and some acid, here I am using lime juice. I let it sit for a minute or two then rinse it out thoroughly. Then I season with some dry herbs and spices and let it marinate while I work on my masala for the curry.
Make a Simple Curry Masala for Bunjal Shrimp
When making curry of any kind, I always start by blending my onion and garlic and other fresh herbs, then adding curry powder and spices to make a masala. This is how my mom taught me to make curry and this is how I make curry to this day! This method of cooking curry creates a thick curry paste that clings to protein and adds a depth of flavor to any curry dish.
Sealing in the Flavor of the Bunjal Shrimp
No matter what kind of shrimp dish I am making, I always sear my shrimp first for 30 seconds to a minute before cooking any other ingredients. This bunjal shrimp curry is no exception. For this step I use a very hot pan and a little bit of fat. The goal here is not to fully cook the shrimp but just to lock in the flavor with a good sear.
Make the Bunjal Shrimp Curry
After searing the shrimp, remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside, then I add the curry masala to the pan and cook down to make a thick paste. You may add a tablespoon or two more oil to the pan before adding the masala if needed.
Once I achieve a rich dark color with the masala then I know it is time to add the shrimp back in. Because I partially cooked the shrimp while searing it, once the shrimp is added and mixed with the curry paste, I only let it cook for a few more minutes before removing it from the heat. At this stage, if your curry is too dry you may add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and let it cook for a minute or two before removing from the heat.
Once the leftovers have completely cooled, store bunjal shrimp curry in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it on the stovetop for 1-2 minutes over low heat.
Tips for the Best Bunjal Shrimp Curry
- Sauteing the shrimp first seals in the flavor and prevents it from having a boiled taste.
- Shrimp cooks incredibly fast. So after searing the shrimp, remove them while you make the curry then add them back for a quick toss.
- If you are using smaller shrimp or white belly shrimp, you may skip the searing step and add the shrimp after the curry paste cooks down.
- If the bunjal shrimp is too dry, add 1/4 cup of water. Then cook it for for an additional minute.
- Do not cook the shrimp for more than 5 minutes total. If you overcook the shrimp, they’ll be tough and rubbery.
- If you prefer a saucier shrimp curry, check out my Coconut Shrimp Curry.
Frequently Asked Questions
I live in Colorado, a landlocked state, so any “fresh” shrimp is previously frozen. So I prefer to buy frozen shrimp that is peeled and deveined. You can find many varieties of frozen shrimp in the seafood section of your supermarket. Take your pick.
Both terms refer to Indian spice blends. But curry is a broader term that is often used to describe a wide range of Indian dishes that are typically made with a sauce or gravy. It can refer to a variety of dishes, each with its own combination of ingredients and spices.
White belly shrimp are small shrimp found in the muddy waters of Guyana. The shell is so delicate that it can be eaten as is.
Bunjal Shrimp Curry
- Blender/Food Proccessor
- Large Bowl
- Large Frying Pan
- 1 lb of Shrimp deveined and peeled (with tail on)
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- 1/2 of a small yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons of curry powder preferably madras curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon of roasted ground cumin or geera
- Pinch of black pepper or cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt or salt to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water optional
To Wash the Shrimp
- Juice of a lime
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- Add shrimp, 1 tablespoon of salt and the juice of one whole lime to a large bowl. Mix together well, then wash thoroughly with cold water.
- Next, season the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of curry powder, 1 tablespoon of granulated garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of roasted ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala and a pinch of black pepper or cayenne pepper, and set aside to marinate.
- Next add onion and 1/4 cup of water to a blender cup or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Then pour into a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Next, mix together well to form a paste and set aside.
- Then add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large frying pan on high heat.
- When the oil is hot add the seasoned shrimp and sear for about 30 seconds on each side.
- Then remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add the curry masala and cook down until all the water evaporates and a thick paste forms. You may add another tablespoon of oil to the pan before adding the masala, if needed. Once the masala cooks down into a paste, it will be rich and dark in color.
- You may add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to the paste and cook down until a thick sauce forms.
- Then add the sautéed shrimp to the sauce and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, but be careful not to overcook the shrimp.
- Remove from the heat and enjoy with your favorite sides.
The information listed in the recipe card is an estimate provided by an online nutrition tool. The tool evaluates ingredient names and amounts then makes calculations based on the number of servings listed for the recipe. It is provided as a general guideline and not as a precise calculation. For precise nutrition information please feel free to add the ingredients to your preferred nutrition calculator or consult a doctor or licensed nutritionist.