Spicy Cilantro Shrimp

by valentina on February 1, 2012

Have you ever seen a “secret sauce” on a menu?

If I had a menu, the sauce for this shrimp would definitely be mysecret sauce!”  Just calling it that makes it so much more alluring, doesn’t it?!

Here’s the deal. . . this sauce has essentially three ingredients, takes about two minutes to prepare, and it tastes incredibly special.

The bits of garlic become almost candy-like in the spicy chili paste — and the way it all caramelizes with the shrimp as it’s quickly sautéed, creates a brilliantly sweet spiciness that’s absolutely divine!

This is a great addition to Pad Thai, which we’re making tomorrow — and it’s amazing over rice, or on it’s own as an appetizer!  Have a few friends over this weekend and serve it any way you’d like!

Spicy Cilantro Shrimp

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Serving Size: Serves 4


1/4 cup grapeseed oil

2-1/2 teaspoons chili paste (Sambal Oelek is perfect)

1-1/2 tablespoons finely minced garlic

1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1-pound peeled and deveined medium-large shrimp (about 31 to 35 per pound)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Add the oil to a large sauté pan and place it over low heat. . 
  2. Add the chili paste, garlic and cilantro to the pan and let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Then turn the heat to high.
  3. While the pan is heating, place the shrimp on a baking sheet or large plate and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Once the pan is hot, add the shrimp, with at least a couple inches between them -- you should hear a sizzling sound.  If  you don't, your pan's not hot enough.  Wait until the pan is very hot and listen for the sizzle!
  5. Sauté the shrimp just until cooked through, about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes per side. 
  6. Make sure you serve the shrimp with any bits of the sauce that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Those bits are delicious!!!

10 minutes ahead of time: Prepare the sauce and cook the shrimp.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Aimee February 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Soooo delicious! I can’t believe it’s so simple and I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.


Aimee February 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm

(Oh, and I can’t wait for the Pad Thai!)


Diane {Created by Diane} February 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm

oh my goodness I LOVE you secret sauce, you had me at cilantro and than chili paste YUM, YUM, YUM!!!


Lana February 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I love the simplicity of your secret sauce:) It seems that the shrimp is bursting with flavors, while still staying light and healthy (I really need that combination right now!)


Sarah February 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Looks so good! Will try it out!


averagebetty February 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Looks so good – I’ve never tried that kind of Chili Paste but I like Huy Fong products – thanks for the awesome secret tip :)


Roberta Stone February 19, 2012 at 5:27 am

So delicious. Also so gorgeous to see. And 10 minutes preparation time. This is nothing short of Fabulous. Each and every guest to my dinner party last night loved, loved, loved it.


valentina February 20, 2012 at 6:31 am

Yay! Roberta, I’m so happy you made this yummy recipe! :-)


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