Shrimp Pasta Putanesca

Okay okay. This is not authentic pasta putanesca. It hints at it with the olives & capers but has much less tomatoes and definitely spruced up with shrimp. I wanted to make use of those really nice, large shrimp in my freezer but in a pasta format. I guess I can call this scampi but then it didn’t have enough spices to qualify as one.

Ever got trapped in a semantic merry-go-round? Heh.

Either way, this was really zippy. I mean, you do need 2-3 minutes extra to extract some shrimp liquor from the shells but other than that, it barely takes any time at all!

For this pasta, we’ll need Fusilli, Shrimp, Butter, Ham Strips, Shallots, Garlic, Anchovy Paste, Capers, Olives, Tomato, Ground Paprika, Scallions & Lemon Juice.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 1

I quite like buying shrimp with shell on just so I can make some shrimp stock for whatever dishes I’m using the shrimp in. It ups the shrimpiness (Is that a word? It is now!) in the dish. If you can’t get shell on shrimp, chicken stock works. :-) Authentic putanesca uses white wine but since I don’t cook with alcohol, this is fabulous!
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 3

Everything nicely and finely chopped. Pasta cooked. Shrimp stock done did.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 4

Saute with butter… cos everything is good cooked in butter.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 5

You know those cheap packs of ham odds & ends at delis? Those that sometimes consist of ham ends, corners etc? Love them! They are good thrown in fried rice, pasta dishes, frittata, soup or whatever you want to bulk up. Ham flavour for barely half the price.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 6

Sizzle them up.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 7

You can definitely go with more tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are good. I happen to like fresh tomatoes A LOT in pasta.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 8

A sprinkle of paprika powder to add smokiness & colour.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 9

Silky silky pasta. I might or might not have sneak a few while making the sauce. Key word = Might.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 10

Shrimps can’t take too much cooking so this is perfect!
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 11

Looking good?
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 12

A nice squeeze of lemon juice for more brightness!
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 13

Pasta + Seafood = Marriage Made In Heaven (#MMIH)
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 14

So unassuming.. till you take a bite.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 15

Sweet shrimp with zingy capers sit well in my tummy.
How would you make this differently?


“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” {John 16:33}

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Shrimp Pasta Putanesca
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-5
  • 6 oz (200 gm) Fusilli Pasta
  • 10 large Shrimp, shell on
  • 1 cup Water, from cooking pasta
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled & minced
  • 3 Shallots, peeled & sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp Anchovy Paste
  • 1 Tomato, chop finely
  • 8 pitted Black Olives, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Capers, chopped
  • ½ tsp Ground Paprika
  • 3 oz (85 gm) Ham, sliced into strips
  • 2 stalks Scallions, chopped
  • Lemon Juice, to taste
  1. Cook pasta in plenty of well salted water.
  2. Meanwhile, peel shrimp & toss shells into small sauce pan. Add 1 cup pasta-cooking water into pan & simmer for 10 minutes. Drain & retain stock.
  3. In a large pot, melt butter. Saute garlic & shallots for 1 minutes until shallots are translucent.
  4. Add ham & anchovy paste & stir until anchovy dissolves completely.
  5. Pour in shrimp stock, tomatoes, paprika, olives & capers. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Toss in shrimp.
  7. Add drained al dente fusilli into sauce. Stir until well mixed & shrimp is just cooked. Taste to adjust seasoning with lemon juice.
  8. Sprinkle in chopped scallions & stir briefly.
  9. Serve immediately.
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Goan Fish Curry

I’ve been an avid follower of Sorted Food for a couple of years now, having watched them change and develop as a food channel on Youtube. I was ecstatic for them when they got to cook in Jamie Oliver’s kitchen studio thing :-). I absolutely love how Ben (the trained chef of the group) teaches his buddies how to cook and we as viewers can learn vicariously through them. Visuals are so important!! They are partly the reason why I try, as best I can, to include process photos for my recipes. A lot of times, I see things like “beat till smooth”, ” heat up the oil”, “cream should be have soft peaks” and I have no idea how far I should go. Go dig through Sorted Food’s  website and I’m sure you’re bound to find something you like there.

I’ve tried so many of their recipes through the past few years with great success. The greatest success I’ve ever had with their recipes was this particular one. Goan Fish Curry is entirely different from fish curries we’re used to here. Malaysian kinds tend to have really spicy sour sauces filled to the brim with cabbage, okra, tomatoes… all kinds of veggies. They are less viscous, usually using fish head & just a palate adventure.

This recipe however is more delicate, with the thick gravy cooked separately from the fish to retain textural contrasts. It’s not super spicy, not overloaded with stuff, not a punch-in-your-face kinda dish. But it’s amazingly flavourful with the liberal addition of spices. Super easy, super quick & hey, no bones to fiddle with! I’ve adapted it to my method & taste, as the Sorted crew always asks us to. ;-)

I used garoupa fillet, ginger, garlic, ground tumeric, cinnamon, garam masala, chilli flakes, ground coriander, fennel seeds, lemon, tamarind paste, coconut milk, harissa chilli paste, carrot, cauliflower, onion & coriander.
Goan Fish Curry 1

Well spiced & dry rubbed fish fillet under the grill. You can just as easily shallow fry them in a nonstick pan. With the garam masala on there together with a few more, this fish is coated with at least 7 different types of spices. If this isn’t good, I don’t know what is!
Goan Fish Curry 2

Now for the curry paste…
Goan Fish Curry 3

Just whizz it all up in a blender.
Goan Fish Curry 4

This should be relatively smooth so that all the oils & essence will pop.
Goan Fish Curry 5

All things prepped!
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I like that the recipe calls for browning the veggies first. Sturdy veggies really benefit from some caramelization.
Goan Fish Curry 7

Tasty brown bits.
Goan Fish Curry 8

Roasting all the aromatics first.
Goan Fish Curry 9

I’d stick to the full fat coconut milk but if you’re counting calories, light coconut milk will work but the sauce would be more watery.
Goan Fish Curry 10

Now it’s all mixed together so the veggies get some time to soften a little more.
Goan Fish Curry 11

Gravy totally done! Looks boring? Just wait and see…
Goan Fish Curry 12

Ta-da! Looks so much better aye.
Goan Fish Curry 13

I love how crispy the fish is and that the skin retains the crispiness. Hubs’ favourite bit. :-)
Goan Fish Curry 14

It’s like Goan fish fingers over some spiced gravy.
Goan Fish Curry 15

This was soooo good over basmathi rice with nothing more.
Goan Fish Curry 16

You guys see the spice crust on there?
Goan Fish Curry 17

 Go over to the Sorted Food website and let me know which recipe you want to try or want ME to try!  I’ll gladly be your foodie lab rat ;-)

If it’s hard for you to get the spices listed in the recipe, have a little look down here:


“But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. ” {Galatians 3:22}

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Goan Fish Curry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Goan
Serves: 4-5
  • 1 tbsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 2 large Garoupa Fillets (500g), skin on
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of Ginger
  • ½ tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • 1 tbsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 tsp Harissa Chilli Paste
  • juice of ½ Lemon
  • 200g (7oz) head Cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 Carrot, peeled & cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 (400ml or 13.5 oz) tin Coconut Milk
  • 1 tbsp Tamarind Paste (if concentrate, dissolve 1 tsp into enough water to make 1 tbsp)
  • 1 small Red Onion
  • 1 handful Fresh Coriander
  1. Combine the turmeric, cinnamon & garam masala in a small bowl.
  2. Score the skin of the garoupa fillets & rub in the spice mix, then lay on a baking tray. Set aside.
  3. Peel and blend the onion, garlic, ginger & chilli paste. Combine with dried chilli flakes, ground coriander, fennel seeds, pinch of salt & lemon juice.
  4. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the cauliflower & carrot until starting to brown.
  5. Remove the veggies from pan & set aside.
  6. In the same pan, fry the spice paste in the same pan until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  7. Pour in the coconut milk & stir until combined with spice paste.
  8. Return the veggies into pan. Turn down heat to MED.
  9. Add in tamarind paste. Cover & simmer for 5 minutes until sauce thickens.
  10. Taste to adjust seasoning with fish sauce & sugar if needed.
  11. Preheat oven on broil/grill setting at 200C or 400F. Grill fish fillets skin side up for 5 minutes or until fully cooked, with some charring. Of you prefer to shallow fry them, just fry them in a non stick pan with 1-2 tbsp oil on MED HIGH heat.
  12. Serve garoupa fillets over the curry gravy & garnish with thinly sliced red onion & fresh coriander leaves!
  13. Best served with fragrant basmathi rice.

 Recipe adapted from: Sorted Food

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