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Red Curry Risotto With Shrimp

Our red curry obsession knows no bounds—give us shrimp risotto, and we’ll turn around and give you a big bowlful of this jumbo shrimp-laden coconut curry risotto.


red curry risotto in a white skillet topped with crispy whole shrimp, fresh cilantro and toasted coconut

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop (Red Curry-ifiying EVERYTHING)

You know we love red curry. We know we love red curry. It’s no secret that we think that everything tastes better with a few tablespoons of red curry paste and a healthy pour of coconut milk. We’ve applied this theory to everything from meatballs to ramen, and today we’ve got our coconut curry-sights on shrimp risotto! A delectable hybrid of Italian shrimp risotto and Thai red curry shrimp, this red curry risotto recipe is a surprisingly natural combination when you stop to think about it—or, even better, when you sit down to taste it!

spoon dipped in red curry risotto topped with shrimp

Risotto Technique 101

Just as with a classic risotto, this curry risotto recipe requires a little stirring on your part. But if you’re willing to bring a little patience to the table, time and heat will do the rest. Here are a few things to keep in mind about this Thai red curry riff on classic risotto:

  1. We’re not using classic risotto rice! Instead, we call for jasmine rice. It won’t absorb liquid in exactly the same way as risotto rices like arborio or carnaroli, but it will absorb it. Just work with patience, and keep on stirring.
  2. Our curry risotto gets its creamy risotto-y-ness from not one but two liquids! And—unlike risotto—neither liquid is a broth. Instead we add plain old water as well as a creamy red curry coconut mixture.
  3. This creamy coconut curry rice doesn’t start in a mostly-empty skillet like risotto does. Instead, you’ll begin by adding the rice to a flavorful slurry of red curry and coconut milk.
ingredients for red curry risotto with shrimp in small bowls

Super Delicious Curry Risotto, Just A Few Basic Ingredients.

We built this simple shrimp risotto recipe out of things that we always have on our shopping list and in our pantry. If you’ve been reading this site for a while (and making our recipes) then you might even consider (like we do) red curry paste to be a kitchen staple. Whether you need to make a grocery run, or you magically have these ingredients on-hand already, we promise you won’t have to visit a specialty store to whip this coconut milk risotto up. Here’s all you’ll need:

  • Coconut milk. Full fat—always and forever.
  • Fish sauce.
  • Red curry paste. We’ve mentioned this before, but we adore the Mae Ploy brand. We’re also crushing hard on a new (local to Portland) brand of red curry paste called Thai Home, but it might be hard to find outside of the Pacific Northwest. If you see it, grab a jar and give it a try!
  • Onion.
  • Fresh garlic and ginger.
  • Lime.
  • Jasmine rice.
  • Dried, sweetened coconut.
  • Sugar.
  • Large shrimp. Frozen or fresh—either works. If you’re using frozen shrimp, just be sure to defrost them before you start making this recipe.
coconut milk, onions and curry in a white skillet
coconut curry broth in a white skillet
rice stirred into coconut curry broth for red curry risotto
homemade red curry risotto in a skillet with crispy shrimp, fresh cilantro and lime zest

How to Make Coconut Curry Risotto

Admittedly, this is not our easiest recipe ever. But! If you’ve made risotto before, the process will be really familiar. Below, we walk you through the recipe and call out a few trip points to watch out for:

  1. Prep your shrimp—defrost if you are using frozen, then peel and devein shrimp.
  2. Make your coconut red curry liquid. Simmer together curry paste, fish sauce, coconut milk, sugar, lime, ginger, garlic and onion. Scoop out a cup of this liquid to save for the end—you'll use it to finish the dish.
  3. Pour your rice into the simmering red coconut curry liquid.
  4. Stir! Keeping the curry risotto at a low simmer, stir and stir and stir some more. The work of stirring will both prevent burning and encourage the rice to absorb the liquid.
  5. Stir some more! Once the coconut curry liquid seems to have been mostly absorbed, you're going to start adding water. Add it one cup at a time and stir a lot between cups. Wait to add the next cup until the previous cup of water has been thoroughly absorbed.
  6. While you're stirring the rice, sauté the shrimp in a separate skillet—you can sauté and stir at the same time, right? It's probably a really good brain workout.
  7. Finish! Add the shrimp to the creamy curry rice, and finish the dish with the reserved coconut milk-red curry mixture, lime zest and coconut.
creamy red curry risotto in a skillet topped with shrimp and fresh cilantro
close up of crispy shrimp over red curry risotto

Tools You'll Need for Successful Risotto

Other Easy Shrimp Recipes for Busy Weeknights

This Asian risotto is just one of the many ways we love to cook shrimp. A quick, healthy protein source, and a refreshing break from chicken, shrimp is a weeknight staple for us. Here are four of our go-to shrimp recipes:

Curry Risotto—Who Knew?

We hope you give this unusual recipe a try! It’s a little out of the box, in the very best way. Let us know how it goes over in your home! Snap a photo of your red curry risotto with shrimp and Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper.Happy eating!

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Red Curry Risotto With Shrimp

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  45 min
  • Calories: 292


  • 2 13.5 oz cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 lime, zest and juiced
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, for frying shrimp
  • 1 lb uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 3 cups water
  • toasted sweet coconut flakes for topping
  • fresh cilantro for topping


  1. In a large skillet add coconut milk, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, red curry paste, ginger, garlic and onion. Bring to a simmer and stir until combined. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes so flavors can meld together.
  2. Remove 1 cup of the liquid and set aside. Stir dried rice into skillet and bring back to a low simmer. Continue stirring over low heat until rice has absorbed the liquid, about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes add 1 cup of water at a time, stirring while it absorbs. Continue adding water until rice is tender, about 20 more minutes. This is similar to risotto and will keep the coconut milk from burning while making a creamy rice base for your shrimp
  3. In a separate skillet add coconut oil over medium high heat. Once coconut oil is hot add in shrimp and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Turn shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes on the following side.
  4. Add shrimp to curry rice and top with reserved curry broth, lime zest, fresh cilantro and toasted coconut

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories292
  • Protein9 g
  • Carbohydrates13 g
  • Total Fat22 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol75 mg
  • sodium363 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g

Red Curry Risotto With Shrimp

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Sharlene

    What can I substitute the coconut milk with?

    We wouldn't recommend a sub. Coconut milk is pretty key in curry recipes.

  • Carey

    I have a recipe for risotto in the oven. Do you think that would work for this recipe?

    Couldn't say for sure we have never tried cooking it in the oven.

  • Desiree

    Can you sub in arborio rice if you have it? Will it absorb too much of the liquid?

    That should work!

  • Aaron

    Does using all the water take away some of the flavor? Could you use broth instead

    You bet! I would use chicken stock if you have it!

  • Monica

    Could you use brown rice in place of the jasmine?

    We have never tested it. It would likely need more liquid and more time to soften.

  • Carey

    I made this recipe and it came out great. I did adapt the risotto recipe for a baked risotto recipe that I have that saved me about 30 minutes standing at the stove and I worked great

    Thanks Carey, glad you loved it!

  • Nancy

    I made this for dinner tonight and it is so good. You have to be so patient with a risotto. I did use chicken broth instead of water. I will make this again.

    Thanks Nancy, we are so happy that you loved it!

  • Kaseyann

    I was skeptical but this turned out great! I subbed Arborio rice and because of that used a conventional risotto method, and the dish came together really nicely, wonderfully complex, creamy and perfectly spicy. Will make again!

    Thanks so much Kaseyann, we are so glad you loved it!

  • Abby

    Delicious! All my guest who I have served it to have loved it. One even commented it could be served at a restaurant. I have made this a handful of times now, and can't wait to make it again. I might try adding in some roasted red pepper for some veggies next time:) Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

    You're welcome! Thanks for letting us know how much you enjoy it Abby! We love to hear that you've made it multiple times!

  • Ashley

    Made this recipe tonight. First time making risotto and it was delicious! Also surprisingly easy. Thanks!

    Great job going for it and so gllad you enjoyed it!