Thai Grilled Tom Yum Shrimp Recipe

Thai grilled shrimp

The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 4 mins
Marinating Time: 10 mins
Total: 44 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
126 Calories
7g Fat
9g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Sodium 1024mg 45%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 23mg 115%
Calcium 50mg 4%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 221mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Thai grilled shrimp is extremely flavorful and is sure to please anyone who loves Thai flavors. It is the marinade that makes the shrimp sing—a delicious Tom Yum paste which can be whipped up in your mini-chopper or food processor in no time.

This paste can also be used to make a delicious side sauce (which is nice with rice), although the shrimp are just as wonderful eaten right off the grill. If desired, you can add some scallops to your grilled shrimp brochettes. This marinade is also terrific on grilled fish.

These days, fresh or jarred lemongrass is easily found in large supermarkets. You can find shrimp paste and Thai bird chilis in any well-stocked Asian market.

“Thai Grilled Tom Yum Shrimp is a flavor-filled take on shrimp and scallop brochettes. The savory Thai ingredients really make this dish stand out. Setting aside a little of the marinade and simmering it with coconut milk makes an exquisite sauce for the brochettes” —Joan Velush

Thai Grilled Tom Yum Shrimp/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh lemongrass, or frozen prepared lemongrass

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 2-inch piece ginger, or galangal

  • 1 Thai bird red chili, or 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more as needed

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce, or 1 1/2 teaspoons regular soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice, more as needed

  • 3 heaping teaspoons brown sugar, more as needed

  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced

For the Shrimp:

  • 12 to 18 medium to large shrimp

  • 12 to 18 small scallops, optional

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk, or heavy cream, more as needed, optional

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make Thai grilled shrimp

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Place the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chili, cilantro, fish sauce, oil, soy sauce, shrimp paste, lime juice, sugar, and onion in a mini-chopper or food processor and blend to create a smooth paste. (Or you can prepare by hand—simply mince the ingredients well and stir together.)

    lemongrass marinade in food processor

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Place shrimp and scallops, if using, in a large bowl and pour 1/2 to 3/4 of the marinade over the seafood. Mix, ensuring all the seafood is coated. Reserve any remaining marinade for the side sauce.

    shrimp covered in marinade in glass bowl

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Marinate the shrimp and scallops, if using, 10 to 12 minutes. If using wooden satay sticks, soak them in water in a shallow baking dish for 10 minutes to prevent burning.

    wood skewers soaking in water

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Prepare a medium (350°F to 375°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.

    Remove the seafood from the marinade. Pour the marinade into a small bowl. Slide the shrimp and scallops onto the prepared skewers.

    scallop and shrimp threaded on wood skewers

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Grill the skewers, turning once, about 4 minutes total, or until shrimp are pink and plump and have firmed up. Baste the shrimp the first time you turn them with a little of the reserved marinade.

    scallop and shrimp skewers cooking on charcoal grill

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  7. If making the side sauce, place reserved marinade from the food processor in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the paste for 30 seconds to 1 minute to warm through. Add the coconut milk, stirring to create a sauce. Taste-test the sauce, adding more sugar if too sour. If too spicy for your taste, add more coconut milk. If too salty, add more lime juice. Add more chili for a spicier sauce.

    marinade cooking in skillet

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  8. Serve the shrimp hot off the grill garnished with cilantro and the warm coconut dipping sauce.

    Thai Grilled Shrimp

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

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