Zesty Thai Lemon-Lime Shrimp

Thai Lemon-Lime Shrimp Stock Food Creative/Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 27 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings

This Thai shrimp recipe features both lemon and lime flavors for the ultimate shrimp dish. And unlike most shrimp recipes, it doesn't contain a lot of cream or butter. Coconut milk is used instead, which means this dish is lighter, but still rich in flavor. Lemongrass adds to the lemony taste, while lime leaf and lime zest contribute an extra bit of zing. Makes a nice dish to serve company or anyone who loves seafood. Serve with plain or saffron rice, and enjoy!


  • 1 pound raw shrimp, shells removed (tails can be left on if desired)
  • 2 shallots OR 1/4 cup purple onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red chili, finely chopped, OR 1/2 to 1 tsp. dried crushed chili
  • 2 makrut lime leaves, left whole, OR substitute 1 extra tsp. lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons frozen prepared lemongrass OR fresh lemongrass, very finely minced (available at Asian food stores)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste (available in a jar at Asian food stores)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons thick coconut milk
  • Zest of 1 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • A handful of fresh coriander/cilantro

Steps to Make It

  1. In a cup or small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, shrimp paste, fish sauce, and turmeric. If using frozen prepared lemongrass and dried crushed chili, add those to the mixture as well. Stir until honey is dissolved. Set aside.

  2. Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2-3 Tbsp. oil and swirl around, then add the shallots or onion, garlic, fresh red chili (if using) and makrut lime leaves. If using fresh lemongrass, add it now as well. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until the spices are fragrant and the shallots/onion have softened.

  3. Add the prepared lemon mixture (from step 1) plus the shrimp. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and plump (avoid over-cooking, or they will lose their succulence).

  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 3 to 4 Tbsp. coconut milk, stirring gently to incorporate. Finally, sprinkle over the lime zest and stir again.

  5. Remove from heat and taste-test for a balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors. Add more fish sauce if more salt is needed, or a little sugar or honey if too sour. If too sweet or salty for your taste, add another squeeze of lemon or lime juice. If too spicy or pungent for your taste, add another Tbsp. or two of coconut milk.

  6. Add a final topping of fresh coriander and serve immediately with plain rice or saffron rice. (This dish is also nice over noodles/pasta). Enjoy!

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