Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Seafood)

Saigon Shellfish Curry Recipe

There are many variations of this delicious coconut milk-based curry all over the south of Vietnam. This recipe is made with shrimps, squid and scallops but you could use any combination of shellfish, or even add chunks of filleted fish. Because there are so many Indian spice mixes and pastes sold in the southern markets, most recipes call for "curry powder". Choose a good curry powder or use garam masala. Serve with steamed rice or baguettes broken into chunks, with a few extra chilies to munch on the side.

Ingredients : Serves 4

4 cm

2-3 cloves

45 ml


2 stalks


15 ml

30 ml

550 ml








1/4 teaspoon

Fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

Garlic, roughly chopped

Groundnut (peanut) oil

Onion, finely sliced

Lemon grass, finely sliced

Green or red Thai chilies, seeded and finely sliced

Nuoc cham

Curry powder or garam masala

Can coconut milk

Lime, juice and rind

Medium size squid, cleaned and cut diagonally into 3 or 4 pieces

King or queen scallops, shelled

Good-sized raw shrimps, shelled and deveined

Small bunch of fresh basil, stalks removed

Small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro), stalks removed,

leaves finely chopped


Method :
  • Using a mortar and pestle, grind the ginger with the garlic until it almost resembles a paste.

  • Heat the oil in a traditional clay pot, wok or heavy pan and stir in the onion.

  • Cook until it begins to turn brown, then stir in the garlic and ginger paste.

  • Once the aromas begin to lift from the pot, add the lemon grass, chilies and sugar. Cook briefly before adding the shrimp paste, nuoc mam and curry powder or garam masala.

  • Stir well and allow the flavors to mingle and fuse over the heat for 1-2 minutes.

  • Add the coconut milk, lime juice and rind. Mix well and bring the liquid to the boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

  • Gentle stir in the squid, scallops and shrimps and bring the liquid to the boil once more. Reduce the heat and cook gently until the shellfish turns opaque. Add the basil leaves and sprinkle the coriander over the top. Serve immediately from the pot.

Deveining shrimps

First peel off the shells, then make a shallow cut down the centre of the curved back of each shrimp. Carefully pull back the black vein with a cocktail stick (toothpick) or your fingers, then rinse the deveined shrimp thoroughly.

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