This Thai Basil Shrimp is simple to prepare and packs a delicious flavor punch. Creamy coconut sauce, loaded with veggies, and perfectly cooked shrimp, served over baked sweet potatoes. It’s what foodie dreams are made of.
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Thai Basil Shrimp Recipe inspiration
I developed this recipe with a bunch of leftovers I had.
I had gone to the Asian store to buy ingredients for the Sweet Potato Rice Balls, and like I said in that post, I bought yellow fleshed sweet potatoes, so I wanted to use those up in a fun way.
While I was at the store I saw this beautiful package of Thai basil. So, of course I bought it, not knowing what I’d do with it.
I also had some leftover bok choy that I wanted to use.
So, I made dinner one night, and it was such a hit, simple to make, fresh, and delicious, that I knew I had to remake it for you and get it up on the blog. The husband agreed, in fact, he urged me to put it up to share. It’s that good!
This dish reminds me a lot of the Thai Coconut Prawns dish that I used to get from the Basil Café in Whidbey.
Can I make it vegan?
This dish would be really easy to make vegan. Simply swap out the shrimp for tofu. The sauce is so amazing and delicious; it’ll be great over tofu as well!
You want canned full fat coconut milk for this. It’s rich and creamy and delicious. Yes, you can substitute light coconut milk, but it won’t be as good.
I watched a segment on America’s test kitchen the other day about coconut milk, and they said they liked Aroy-D brand best. It’s what I’ve been buying lately and it is good. If your store carries it, pick up a can and see if you like it as well.
I also had some palm sugar leftover after making the Asian treats.
Palm sugar can be found at well-stocked Asian markets. If you can’t find, or don’t want to but palm sugar, coconut sugar or brown sugar can be used in its place.
It’s an unrefined sweetener that’s often sold in solid form like blocks, that need to be grated, shredded (like on the large holes of a box grater), softened, or melted.
I’m super impressed by the flavor of palm sugar. It’s not just sweet like granulated white sugar. It’s complex and I wanted to eat it just like candy. So I do recommend that you try to get it.
Simply defrost frozen, peeled, & deveined shrimp and remove the shell from the tail. I like to buy the extra jumbo shrimp 16/20 count per pound. They’re nice big shrimp.
To defrost the shrimp, simply place them in a medium bowl and cover with cool tap water. Change the water out for fresh tap water a couple of times, and in about 5 minutes they’ll be defrosted. At this point, the tail shell is easily removable, which makes the bowl easier to eat.
Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel and add them to a skillet with a little oil.
Thai basil has a slightly savory, spicy, anise-like flavor. The leaves are sturdy, from purple stems, and can take more heat than delicate Italian basil.
I’ve had luck finding it for sale at the Asian market several times. I’ve also had luck finding small pot of Thai basil at the nursery, so I’ve grown it in my kitchen window, or in an herb garden in my yard.
If you can’t find Thai basil, fresh Italian basil is an acceptable substitute, and can be easily obtained at the grocery store.
When I was a kid my mom made a spinach salad that had bean sprouts as part of it. Here’s the dressing and more about that salad.
It was always my job to pick the root ends off of the bean sprouts. It was more for presentation than anything else, but it’s a slow process to pick every root end off of the every bean sprout.
Well, I can honestly say that it’s something I still do to this day. I think it just looks prettier and nicer.
So, there I stand, picking the root ends off of the sprouts. And, I pick off some of the leaf ends if they look wilty.
Now, I’m not saying the you have to pick all the ends off, but, it is pretty.
How to make Thai Basil Shrimp
Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven, wrapped in foil, until they’re tender.
Stir fry the veggies, and place in a large bowl
Cook the shrimp, add in the coconut sauce, and cook for a minute more. This sauce has extraordinary flavor, and would be great on noodles or rice as well.
Combine the veggies, shrimp, and sauce in the large bowl, and stuff into the baked sweet potatoes
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Thai Basil Shrimp Recipe
Thai Basil Shrimp
- 2 medium sweet potatoes scrubbed clean
- Oil for drizzling
- ½ cup canned full fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons grated palm sugar or brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small shallot chopped
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- 2 baby bok choy chopped, keep white parts separate from dark leafy green parts
Shrimp & remaining:
- ½ pound large fresh or frozen shrimp defrosted, peeled, and deveined
- ½ cup fresh Thai basil or regular basil leaves chopped
- Fresh bean sprouts for garnishing
Prepare the sweet potatoes:
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times using a fork, and drizzle lightly with oil.
- Loosely wrap the sweet potatoes in aluminum foil, and place the wrapped sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack. Bake for 65 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
Prepare the sauce:
- In a bowl, whisk together coconut milk, soy sauce, palm sugar, and ground ginger. Set aside.
Cook veggies and shrimp:
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chopped shallot, and cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and the white parts of the bok choy to the hot skillet with the shallot, and cook another 5 minutes. Add the dark green leafy parts of the bok choy to the skillet with the other veggies, and cook until the leafy parts begin to wilt. Remove the cooked veggies from the skillet to a large bowl.
- Place the shrimp in the hot skillet, and stir-fry until pink but still translucent in the middle, about 3 minutes. Add coconut milk mixture to the pan with the shrimp, and bring to a boil and stir until sauce thickens and shrimp is opaque, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in basil leaves.
- Stir shrimp in sauce into the large bowl with the cooked veggies, and serve large spoonfuls of the shrimp-veggie mixture over cut open baked sweet potatoes. Garnish with fresh bean sprouts.