Spicy Cilantro Shrimp only takes eight minutes to make! Eight minutes for the best shrimp dish ever! Whomever you serve this to will wonder how in the world you made this "secret sauce" and they will keep coming back for more.
Spicy shrimp recipes have always lured me in, and this recipe is my absolute favorite!
Have you ever seen a "secret sauce" on a menu?
The sauce for this shrimp would certainly be labeled as my "secret sauce" Just calling it that makes it so much more alluring, doesn't it?!
This sauce has essentially three ingredients, takes about two minutes to prepare, and it tastes incredibly special.
(I often suggest brands I love and use — these are only suggestions and this is not a sponsored post.)
- shrimp - For this recipe you'll need medium/large-sized shrimp, which should be labeled as approximately 31 to 35 per pound. They'll be considerable less expensive if you peel and devein them yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide for peeling and deveining shrimp.
- neutral oil - grapeseed or vegetable.
- fresh cilantro - Choose perky bright green bunches without yellow or brown spots.
- chili paste - I always use Sambal Oelek.
- fresh garlic - Look for firm heads of garlic without any soft spots or green shoots, which are an indication it's old. Raw garlic cloves should be firm without any dark spots. (Pro tip: if there are green shoots in garlic you already have, just cut the cloves in half and remove them with the tip of a paring knife. The rest of the clove should still be good.)
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
The fresh cilantro with the spicy Sambal Oelek, are a perfect balance to the shrimp, which is naturally on the sweet side.
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!
Substitutions and Variations
- cilantro. Well, cilantro is clearly an essential ingredient in this cilantro shrimp recipe. However, you can create a new recipe with a completely flavor profile by substituting cilantro with basil, flat-leaf parsley.
- garlic. If you have an aversion to, or are allergic to garlic, use super finely minced shallots instead.
- You should hear a sizzling sound when the shrimp hit the pan, and if you don't, your pan's not hot enough. Wait until the pan is very hot and listen for the sizzle! If the pan isn't hot enough, you won't get that beautiful caramelization -- of the shrimp and sauce.
How to Make it
- Add the oil to a large sauté pan and place it over low heat. Add the chili paste, garlic and cilantro to the pan and let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to high.
- While the pan is heating, place the shrimp on a baking sheet or large plate and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- When the pan is hot, add the seasoned shrimp, with at least a couple inches between them.
- Sauté the shrimp just until cooked through, about 1 to 1½ minutes per side.
- 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!!!
This goes not only for the cilantro shrimp, but for almost all spicy shrimp recipes . . .
- Cilantro shrimp is a great addition to Pad Thai.
- It's a super fun party appetizer -- just add toothpicks!
- You can also use the sauce for chicken, and all sorts of other seafood. It would be really tasty with cod, sea bass, scallops and salmon.
- Spicy shrimp recipes with rice are always excellent -- the recipe soaks up any bits of leftover sauce -- it's especially delicious with Coconut Cilantro Rice (below).
Can you make it ahead?
Cilantro shrimp is definitely at its very best right out of the pan. This should be easy since it's so quick to prepare.
Other Outstanding Shrimp Recipes
- Hatch Chile Shrimp
- Quinoa Shrimp Salad Bowl
- Shrimp Burgers with Cilantro Guacamole
- Mexican Shrimp Ceviche
I hope you enjoy every last bit of this scrumptious Spicy Cilantro Shrimp!
Spicy Cilantro Shrimp Recipe
- Make the sauce. Add the oil to a large sauté pan and place it over low heat. Add the chili paste, garlic and cilantro to the pan and let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Then turn the heat to high.
- Prep shrimp. While the pan is heating, place the shrimp on a baking sheet or large plate and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Sauté. 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!Sauté the shrimp just until cooked through, about 1 to 1½ minutes per side.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!!!
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