The recipe for keto Spicy Shrimp and Tomatoes
This shrimp recipe is the kind of meal that your family will ask you to make over and over. The good thing is that you won’t mind making it again and again because it’s so easy and so quick!
The sauce for this recipe has notes of onion and garlic goodness, The spices, however, are what really makes it special. I’m not talking about the kind of spices that make your mouth burn. The spices in this sauce create a complicated savory interlude that your taste buds won’t be able to get enough of. Their fragrance will scent your home with an intoxicating aroma that will make tummies grumble in anticipation.
The spice combination in our Spicy Shrimp and Tomatoes
Where did this spice combination originate? The spices in this sauce-especially the garam masala blend–are reminiscent of Indian cuisine. The cinnamon and cumin blended with the tomatoes bring in even more exotic notes-perhaps a touch of middle eastern flair. The spice combination of this recipe was inspired by a recipe for Spiced-Tomato-Braised Fish in the September 2021 Bon Appetit.
If adding cinnamon to your tomato sauce seems a little strange, I understand. I used to think of cinnamon as a spice used only in sweet baked goods like apple pie, spice cake, and pumpkin custard. This narrow mindedness caused me some shock when my college roommate added cinnamon to her spaghetti sauce. I expected the sauce to be revolting–even downright disgusting, but it was not. The sweetness of the cinnamon helped balance the acidity of the tomatoes and added a nuance of flavor I had not expected. Since then, a dash of cinnamon has become my secret ingredient to a great spaghetti sauce. Now that secret is out!
The quick and easy preparation
The sauce in this recipe may be intoxicating, but the ease of making this meal will have you hooked. This recipe requires very little prep to get started. If you purchase shrimp that have already been deveined and peeled, all you need to do is prep the veggies. To do this, just chop up an onion, crush a few cloves of garlic, and, if you want add a bit of garnish, chop up a bit of parsley. This takes less than 10 minutes and you’re on your way to making a meal your family will love.
Once you make the sauce, the last step is to add the shrimp and braise them to tender perfection. Shrimp cook quickly, so this only takes 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp you use. Personally, I like to simmer them slowly so they can soak up all of the spicy goodness of the sauce. Once the shrimp turn opaque all the way through, just sprinkle on the parsley to add a bit of green and it’s ready to serve!
Another element of this recipe you’re going to love is that it’s all made in one skillet. This makes the cleanup crew as happy as the cook!
What is braising?
This recipe uses a cooking method called braising. Braising just means to cook something in a liquid. In this case, the liquid is the tomato sauce. Some meats are browned before cooking them in the liquid. Browning the meat adds flavor to the meat and the sauce. I do this in my recipe for Low-Carb Short Ribs. When braising, the simmering may be done on top of the stove, in the oven, in a slow cooker, or (if you want to cheat a bit and speed things up) in a pressure cooker.
In this recipe, I did not brown the shrimp ahead of time. Shrimp cook so quickly that browning them would have almost cooked them through. Since they would have already been cooked when they went into the sauce, they wouldn’t have had time to absorb any of the flavors in the sauce.
What are the benefits of braising?
Because braising involves cooking in a flavorful liquid, the resulting food is usually moist and full of flavor.
Braising is also less “hands on” than some other cooking methods. Once the sauce is prepared and the meat is added, just a few stirs here and there are all that is needed.
What is the difference between stewing and braising?
Braising and stewing are very similar cooking techniques. Both methods involve cooking in liquid and both are done over low heat for a longer amount of time (except in the case of a pressure cooker).
In fact, the only difference between stewing and braising is in the amount of liquid. When you braise something, there is less liquid than there is meat and veggies. When you stew something, there is enough liquid to cover the meat and vegetables. Some examples of stews are my Low-Carb Beef Bourguignon Stew, my Low-Carb Mexican Beef Stew, and my recipe for Cioppino
What to serve with Spicy Shrimp and Tomatoes
While I enjoy this recipe with a simple salad or steamed veggie, you could spoon it over some riced cauliflower. This recipe for riced cauliflower with cumin and saffron from Ellie Krieger has a flavor profile that will work well with the spicy sauce.
Spicy Shrimp and Tomatoes (Low Carb | Keto)
This one skillet recipe for Spicy Shrimp and Tomatoes incorporates fragrant spices and garlic goodness. This recipe is quick and easy. Keto-friendly, low-carb, gluten-free, dairy-free.
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 small onion (about 2 ounces), diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1½ teaspoon ground garam masala
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper crushed
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes no salt added
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste)
- 1 pound medium to large uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined (tails on or off depending on preference), defrosted
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley chopped
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add avocado oil. Whe oil is hot, add the diced onion. Cook onion, stirring frequently, until translucent and the edges start to brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant---about one minute.
Stir the garam masala, cinnamon, cumin seeds, and black pepper into the onion mixture. Toast, stiring constantly, for about 1 minute.
Stir in diced tomatoes and sea salt. Bring mixture to a simmer.
When mixture has reached a simmer, stir in shrimp. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque throughout, about 5-8 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle on the parsley just before serving.