Balinese-Inspired Peanut Butter and Coconut Milk Shrimp Curry

Balinese-Inspired Peanut Butter and Coconut Milk Shrimp Curry

Peanut butter in a curry? Sounds odd, I agree. But this dish will blow your mind and taste buds! Guaranteed!

This dish is yet another Balinese-inspired recipe after my Tofu and Chicken Fritters

At the local market in Bali, I bought this peanut sambal mixture packed into a dense cube that was sold in medium and mild heat levels. Of course, I bought the spicy version. I wanted to recreate the flavours of this sambal mixture for the purpose of writing this recipe for you and so that I won’t have to catch an expensive flight back to Bali for buying an ingredient for my curry every time I deplete my pantry supplies.

When most women dream of a large walk-in closet to display their clothes and jewelry, I stare into space and imagine my own walk-in pantry with shelves filled with jars and packets of exotic food ingredients from all over the world. You know the kind of pantry Nigella has on her cooking episodes? I want that but 10 times bigger!

Back to reality. The only hard part of the dish is making the base for the curry. I use my new best friend in the kitchen, my wide-mouthed stone mortar and pestle to grind up all the ingredients. You can for sure use a blender but I would strongly recommend using the former. It does something to the ingredients which a blender is incapable of replicating. Think of it this way. The crushing action of the pestle breaks down the cell walls of the herbs and spices and releases all kinds of magical flavours which you just won’t get from steel blades chopping up the food. And, you get to pound your way out of any built-up frustration! It is a double win!

Spicy but in a friendly way and perfectly balanced with a hint of sweetness — rich with the nutty depth of peanuts and echoing with the citrus notes of fresh kaffir leaves and floral flavours of coconut — one of my best creations so far, the sole purpose of this curry is to guarantee you pure tropical satisfaction! Strew crushed peanuts on top and enjoy with a bowl of hot plain rice.

Balinese-Inspired Peanut Butter and Coconut Milk Shrimp Curry

Serves 2
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Dinner, Lunch
Misc Serve Hot


  • 10 Shrimp (cleaned)
  • 3 tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Medium Red Onion (thinly sliced and fried)
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1.5 " Ginger (or the same weight as garlic)
  • 2 Kaffir Leaves
  • Tamarind Paste (same size as an olive)
  • 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Chilli Flakes
  • 1 Red Chilli Pepper
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 4 tablespoons Coconut/Vegetable Oil


Fry onions in 2 tablespoon oil until brown on medium-high heat in a pan. This takes about 4 minutes.
Now grind everything except the coconut milk and the rest of the oil into a paste.
In the same pan, heat the rest of the oil and add in the ground mixture and saute for 2 minutes or just until they release their aroma, on medium-high heat. Take care as to not burn this.
Add in the coconut milk and stir until it starts to bubble.
Throw in the shrimp and cover and cook for 5 minutes on low heat.

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