Want to bring some pep and zing to a dreary day? Give your palette a hit of some authentic Indian flavours. This dish with its medley of masalas, tantalising aroma of ghee and lovely juicy Indian Vannamei shrimps roasted a beautiful deep pink will send your taste buds into overdrive. It might be a good idea to make a little more than you normally do. For the first serving of the shrimp ghee pepper roast is likely to arouse cravings for some more.. and more…and more!

This dish works equally well with frozen shrimps. Though small shrimps can also be used, splurge on the bigger sized shrimps if you want to make the dish even more glorious. The juicy moistness of the large or jumbo shrimps, when coated with the ghee and the masalas, creates a special kind of culinary magic.

Here is a tip on cooking the perfect shrimp dish. Indian Vannamei Shrimps cook almost as soon as they are introduced into a heated pan. So, it’s best not to take your eyes off them, for overcooked shrimps lose their flavour and texture. How do you know when the shrimps are cooked just right?

Well, an easy visual way to test the readiness of shrimps is to keep an eye out for their shape. When you put the shrimps in the pan, they will have a loose, flexible U-shape. This indicates that they are raw/undercooked. As the cooking progresses, they change shape.

When they transform into a C, it signals that the shrimps are just perfectly cooked. It is important to take them out of the pan immediately. If you continue cooking, the shrimps will curl up even further and soon reduce themselves into an O. Unfortunately, at this point they are rubbery and tough. It is difficult to rescue your dish once the shrimps are at this stage.

Let us get started with preparing the shrimp ghee pepper roast. The first step is to roast and grind the masalas. Mix together the whole red chillies, peppercorns, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and star anise. Roast them gently on a low flame. The roasting process releases the essential oils in the spices and enhances the flavour. When the air is filled with the fragrance of the roasted masalas, switch off the flame. Once the whole spices have cooled, grind them coarsely.

The next step involves sauteing the masalas and the other ingredients in ghee. If the shrimps are the hero of the dish, the ghee plays the important role of holding the narrative together. Dismiss any thought of substituting the ghee with olive oil or any other cooking oil. The ghee is an absolutely essential ingredient here. Sizzle the garlic and the crushed peppercorns in the hot ghee. Add onions and curry leaves. When the garlic and onions are well browned, put in the ground masala, jaggery, salt, tamarind. The roasting of all the ingredients in ghee gives the dish an extraordinary punch. Continue roasting on a slow flame until the oil separates and a heavenly aroma fills your kitchen. Slide in the shrimps. Let them cook on each side for a couple of minutes, mixing with the masala and getting their juices to mingle with the richness of the ghee. When the shrimps are C-shaped and pink, remove from the fire. Bite into a loaded shrimp and enjoy the scrumptious flavours.

The shrimp ghee pepper roast is ready to be served. Have it with plain rice or with your favourite bread. Or, if you just cannot wait till dinner, have it on its own as a delicious appetizer!!  

Recipe Card

Indian Vannamei Shrimps (Freshly peeled) – 450gm

Ghee                  3 tablespoon

Curry Leaves                  2 sprigs

Chopped Garlic             3 tablespoon

Crushed Black Pepper Corns   1 tablespoon

Thinly Sliced Onion                    1 cup

Jaggerry            1 tablespoon

Tamarind Pulp               2 tablespoon

For Grinding

Red Chilly (whole)        4 no.s

Black Pepper Corns                    1 teaspoon

Cumin Seeds                  1 teaspoon

Fennel Seeds                  2 teaspoon

Star Anise         2 no.s

Curry Leaves                  1 sprig


Heat the skillet on a low flame and dry roast the masala mix until it is fragrant

Turn off the flame, allow the mix to cool.

Grind this to make a coarse masala mix.

Heat the ghee in a frying pan.

Add garlic, crushed pepper corns and cook till the garlic is golden brown.

Add the curry leaves, sliced onion and sauté till the onions are pale brown.

Add the masala mix, jaggery, tamarind pulp and mix well.

Add the freshly peeled Indian Vannamei Shrimps and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add salt and half cup of water and cook till the water is completely reduced.

Serve with the bread or rice of your choice.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 3