July 16 2011

Creamy Macadamia Shrimp

By Worker Bee
80 Comments

Macadamia nuts are often used as a crispy coating for seafood and that’s exactly where the inspiration for this recipe came from. We were craving something like macadamia nut crusted shrimp, but we didn’t want to take the time to dredge each little shrimp in a nutty coating and we didn’t want to deal with the mess of deep-frying. Occasionally, laziness in the kitchen can be a source of inspiration and leads us to create new dishes that take very little time to make but deliver big flavor. Creamy Macadamia Shrimp is exactly one of these dishes.

In twenty minutes or less you’ll be sitting down to a bowl of shrimp flavored by one of our favorite nuts, the macadamia. If you recall, it made the “10 Foods I Couldn’t Live Without” list where we mentioned mixing the mild, tropical-tasting nut with blackberries and Greek yogurt. This combo is perfect for breakfast or dessert, but if you want to bring macadamia nuts into your main course too, then Creamy Macadamia Shrimp is a recipe you definitely have to try.

A handful of ingredients come together to make a creamy, crunchy, rich sauce that has the slightly sweet flavor of macadamia nuts, the savory bite of shallot and a hint of coconut. It’s simple to make, but tastes complex. We can imagine serving the shrimp with a side of sautéed greens or on top of steamed cauliflower rice to make it a complete meal.

Be generous with the finishing squirt of lime – it will tie all the ingredients together and heighten the flavor of the dish.

Ingredients:

2-3 servings


  • 1 pound of raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • Fresh lime juice to taste

Instructions:

Puree shallot, salt and macadamia nuts in a food processor until fairly smooth.

Melt butter in a pan over high heat and add shrimp. Saute one minute then add shallot-macadamia mixture. Stir the shrimp several times while they continue to sauté for three more minutes. Add coconut milk to the shrimp and cook one minute more.

Remove from heat and squeeze a generous amount of lime juice on top to taste.


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80 thoughts on “Creamy Macadamia Shrimp”

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  1. Thanks, this recipe looks wonderful and I have all the ingredients. What’s for dinner has just been answered a our house!

  2. Oh boy. You’re killing me Mark. I guess I need to pick up some shrimp and macadamia nuts. Maca’s have become my favorite nut and I have fallen in love with shrimp as well.

    Looks, sounds, smells, feels and seems like a perfect combo!

  3. This looks AWESOME. Some grilled summer squash on the side… yum.

      1. Temporal hyperbole, wherein someone actually uses “today” to mean “sometime very soon”. Laws wants us to know they have no such wishy-washy timeline.

  4. OMG, I cannot wait to try this and share it with my weight loss clients. AND I just so happen to spend $40 today on a huge jar of coconut oil and several cans of coconut milk. Can’t wait to try this! And it feels like I need a rum based libation to go with it!

  5. Gah! I went to the store for coconut milk and macas and I forgot the shallot! Would an onion do fine?

    1. I just asked the resident food geek in my house and he says onion’s too “bright,” that if it were him he’d substitute a leek or a wild onion (as in out of your yard). I pointed out to him that most of the wild alliums in yards in North America are actually wild garlic. He said he guessed maybe use regular garlic instead.

      You could *try* the onion and probably it’d be OK but it wouldn’t have near the same flavor.

      1. Thanks! I tried the garlic and it came out great! Served with green beans and a small bowl of beef broth, it was delicious!

  6. Looks amazing! But whenever I try to cook something in butter over high heat, I burn the pan – what am I doing wrong? I thought maybe it was because the butter has a low burning point and I needed to try lard or coconut oil instead, but this recipe calls for butter over high heat… what am I missing? Thanks!

    1. You could try adding the butter only when you’re ready to use it rather than putting it in the pan at the beginning. And I wouldn’t go higher than medium-high heat with it.

      Also, I believe if you use clarified butter or ghee, it has a higher smoking point because the solids have been removed.

    2. Your pan might be too thin for the amount of heat your stove puts out. Try a heavier vessel as well as a lower heat. Not all stoves are created equal . . .

  7. Wow! Just bought a pound of macadamia nuts…..looks like dinner on Sunday! Thanks Mark.

  8. Looks yummy, I bet that recipe goes just as well with scallops!

    1. That’s exactly what I was thinking – bay scallops FTW!

  9. Is the coconut milk that comes in a half gallon refrigerated carton (with Jillian from Biggest Loser on it) the same as coconut milk from a can? It’s so flavorless–just tastes like thick water but is 100% fat. I’d think you’d want something tasting coconutty in this recipe, no?

    1. I don’t think they are the same. The coconut milk in the half gallon refrigerated carton I looked at had all sorts of added ingredients.

      I get classic (full fat) Native Forest in a can. The contents can vary in thickness. I love it when I get a batch with creamy thickness that is like soft whipped cream.

      1. Thank you Sharon. I’m a newbie when it comes to coconut (since it’s always been about the only food in the universe I don’t like — but I’m trying to learn to). I’d hoped for some yummy creaminess from the carton but I think they’ve somehow denatured it so it has no flavor whatsoever.

        It says it’s organic and the other ingredients are just guar gum and vitamins/minerals since it’s meant to be used as a dairy replacement. I’ll get canned next time since I’ve found almond milk makes a better milk replacement and will use the coconut milk in recipes.

        1. Look for canned coconut milk. Ingredients should be relatively “pure”; my can says “coconut cream, water”, and that’s it.

          The stuff in the carton has been engineered to be more like a substitute for lowfat milk. It usually has junk in it like evaporated cane juice and gums. I wouldn’t use it for cooking.

          Coconut milk in the can is closer to cream than moo-juice milk. It’s also super addictive once you figure out how to work it into recipes!

        2. I use Arroy-D coconut milk from a (green) 1L tetra pack carton. Ingredients: coconut, water. BPA free, as are their canned CM. High enough in fat that it solidifies in an ice-like shelf on top of the liquid.

  10. Sounds yummy, can hardly wait to try. You can even serve it over spaghetti squash.

  11. This recipe looks awesome!! Wonder if Almond milk would suffice as I hate anything cocanut?

    1. Yeah, I’d probably use cream also instead of almond milk because of the lack of fat content in the almond milk. Also, I’d think the macadamia nuts would overpower any coconut flavor from just 2 measley TBLS of coconut milk, but then if you aren’t comfortable using the coconut, then definitely try something else. (Problem is you’d have to buy a whole can of coconut milk just for 2 TBLS, and if you don’t like it, then you’d be stuck trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the product in the can besides just throwing it out!)

      Just a side note, My DH hates anything coconut – or thought he did – until he realized that all coconut is not made the same! He pictured that shredded, sweet, disgusting sticky stuff on top of coconut cakes and German chocolate cakes. When I started using organic, cold-pressed coconut oil for cooking, he had a fit until he tasted the final results (and I told him he’d better keep an open mind or else – lol).

      Let us know what you tried and how it came out!

  12. Tate,If you don’t like coconut, I would go with cream or a mix of cream and almond milk. I’m guessing there is not enough fat in almond milk by itself. And be sure to use unsweetened almond milk. Personally, I love all things coconut, so to me this sounds wonderful as is. Will definitely pick some shrimp up at the Farmers’ Market and try it soon. Thanks.

  13. made this today, and was floored by how flavorful and delicious it was with so few ingredients. this WILL be on heavy rotation at my house. Roommates and primal boyfriend scarfed it down! WOW. so frik’n good!!

  14. Looks simple and delicious. Might have to get the ingredients tomorrow and give it a try. Thanks.

  15. If and when I try this recipe, I’ll report back. But after reading, I think I’ll give the coconut milk a try. It is 2 measly ol’ TBLs after all!!

  16. I tried this last night … yum! My DH despises coconut, but he ate this and liked it, this recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks!

  17. That’s the way I like shrimp “tempura” if I may say so. I assume fresh macadamia nuts are used, no roasted or dehydrated ones.

  18. It looks as if you’ve addressed the two issues I have with cooking nut-crusted dishes– the hassle and mess of dredging and deep frying. I’m traveling now, but I can’t wait to try this as soon as I get home.

  19. made this today substituting garlic and a tiny bit of ginger for the shallot. Super yum and very rich, definitely going to make again!

  20. Wow. Just wow!

    I’ve been reading Mark’s site for about 1 to 2 weeks (reading the various PB articles) and saw this recipe.

    Made this with the cauliflower rice earlier, this was SO delicious! Went perfect with the cauliflower rice recipe! I was really pleased to see these recipes because just steaks/meat and veggies can get boring. This is far from boring!

  21. This looks amazing.I’ll be making this tomorrow once I’ve been shopping for the ingredients xx

  22. Made this recipe this past Friday for the first time (it was an excuse to show off my new food processor to the girlfriend)! I liked the flavor of the macadamia nuts and the coconut milk, but the shallot was way too strong for our tastes and overpowered the dish. Tasted mostly onion. Might try sauteing the chopped onion first and then adding the other ingredients or else using something like garlic or less onion. Also ran across my usual problem of not having access to things like macadamia nuts. I live in a small town, so my options are Kroger, Ingles, and the Freshway. Oy!

  23. Wanted to know if anyone had experience eating this cold. I want to be able to make this and chill for the next day.

  24. I feel that the fact that they are sauted makes them less suitable as a cold dish although there is lemon. And cooked fish that’s been cooled is not as tender, it tends to stiffen. If you want it cold, I personally think you are better off preparing the dish “a la ceviche”. No more cooking, no more butter, just let all ingredients sit in generous amount of lemon juice overnight.

  25. Oh, this was SO good!!! I forgot to buy shallots, but had a nice sweet onion so I put some of that in. Super good!

  26. I just made this as an afternoon snack and my four kids finished it in less than two minutes! It was a hit! I think we’ll try it with chicken too. Great recipe!

  27. I made this last night and I had to laugh at myself. I didn’t know what a shallot was! lol Well, I had to use pre-cooked shrimp and I put the nuts and shallots in a blender instead! yeah…didn’t work well!!! but all in all it was delicious! I am eating the leftovers for lunch today. I love the recipes but can you put together a few inexpensive ones?? I love you Mark but I don’t live in Malibu and my salary isn’t anywhere near yours!!! Thanks

  28. Hi Mark! Am I able to cook this recipe with prawns instead? Looks delicious! just listened to the pod cast with you and rob wolff

  29. I have never considered cooking (savory) with macadamia nuts. That sounds beyond delicious.

  30. I made this tonight, and wow, it was fabulous! And so easy to make too! Perfect for someone like me who really doesn’t enjoy cooking — it was simple, fast, and delicious!

  31. We made this recipe last night for dinner, it was phenomenal!!!! I added a couple of cloves of garlic to it and the sauce was fabulous, would be fantatic over any seafood or even for a pizza sauce on a coconut flour pizza dough! WONDERFUL recipe!!!!

  32. Made this last night (after sitting on the ingredients for about a month).

    HOLY SMOKES!

    Not only is it DELICIOUS, but it only takes a few minutes to make.

    A new staple in our house… now if we could just find macadamia nuts for a price that doesn’t require a 2nd mortgage 😉

  33. Tried this tonight. Used 1/4 of a red onion instead of the shallot. Was very, very tasty. Things I would do differently next time: more coconut milk! 2 T wasn’t enough of a coconut taste for me. YMMV.

  34. Yum! I just came across this recipe, as I have shrimp and macadamia’s. I don’t have shallots or coconut milk, so I’ll try just a bit of red onion/garlic and some coconut oil instead. Can’t wait!

  35. Made this for dinner tonight and it was DELICIOUS…. but very rich! However, I am saying this after I just easily consumed a half pound of shrimp by myself. 🙂

    I don’t even want to see the calorie count on these puppies….

    Thanks, Mark!!!

  36. Absolutely wonderful. Thanks for this recipe. I used red onion instead of shallot. I did add a small amount of garlic & ginger. The bonus was the macadamia’s were off our own tree. Double bonus as I doubled the recipe & am having it cold for my lunch today.
    Yummmmmy.

  37. Absolutely delicious made as stated and with cauliflower rice.

  38. I first did this dish almost two years ago when I started eating paleo and haven’t done it that often (shrimp and especially macadamia nuts are way too expensive were I live).

    Anyways, yesterday I was undecided between shrimp scampi and the creamy macadamia – so I just substituted the shallot for a ton of garlic. It. Was. So. Good!

  39. DELICIOUS! fast becoming one of mine and the hubby’s fav meals. Made it with monkfish and cashew nuts last night and was just as delish. I add a little bit of garlic, chilli and a small amount of red thai curry paste too just to up the tastiness a bit.

  40. Wow! This is absolutely amazingly delicious! I highly recommend serving it with a side of grilled pineapple and asparagus. 5 stars!.. and it was so quick and easy. Great recipe, thanks!

  41. I made this last night – I’m on my first week of going primal. It was delicious. Even though macadamia nuts are hard to find in the UK without being mixed with something else. I put a bit of grated lime zest in the blender too. Divine!