Chili garlic shrimp is a delicious, easy, under 15 minutes recipe. Shrimp is stir fried in dry red chilies infused oil along with lots of crushed garlic. A must try appetizer and a side dish.
Inspiration for this recipe is chili prawns we ate a Chinese restaurant in Seneca Niagara Hotel Casino during one of our visits to Niagara Falls. Prawns coated with a thin batter were deep fried and garnished with fried peanuts and dry red chilies.
Flavor of the dry chilies with prawns was really good. Keeping that flavor in mind, chili garlic shrimp is my take on chili prawns from that restaurant.
This inspired recipe is now a regular at home, along with the regular shrimp pakoda, shrimp curry and shrimp dum biryani. We love prawns and is a regular at home. Check out more shrimp recipes from my kitchen.
Why this Recipe
Chili garlic prawns or shrimp requires minimal basic kitchen ingredients and cooks under 15 minutes. It is filled with flavor and, works both as an appetizer and a side dish for rice & bread.
Infuse oil and butter with dry red chili peppers, saute prawns in infused oil with crushed garlic for a lip smacking appetizer. It is an easy peasy recipe! For green chilies and black pepper flavor, check sauteed shrimp.
Shrimp - use good quality and decent size shrimp. We prefer 16-20 count shrimp and 26/30 count also works for this recipe. Use fresh or fully thawed frozen shrimp for a tasty chili shrimp.
Red Chilies - One of the main seasoning ingredients for this recipe is dry chilies. I use dry red chilies from Indian store. Use any red chilies and adjust the number of chilies according to heat level of chilies and your tolerance level.
Garlic - We love garlic and am liberal with it's usage. Finely chopped garlic works best but coarsely crushed works as well and that is what I do.
Oil/Butter - Use combination of oil and butter or only oil, as per your dietary needs. Do add at least a 1-2 teaspoons for added flavor. Prawns taste amazing cooked in butter and a teaspoons or two goes a long way.
Other Ingredients - Chili powder, cumin and salt are the other ingredients. Though recipe calls for red chilies, for extra heat, add some chili powder or cayenne pepper. This recipe does not require any chili garlic sauce.
Time consuming process of the preparation is cleaning prawns. Once that is done, cook time is 10-15 minutes maximum. Hence purchase fresh, cleaned ones from the seafood counter to cut down on prep time.
When using frozen ones, thaw it well before cooking. Check the recipe card for detailed recipe.
Clean shrimp - Thaw completely if frozen, peel and remove the vein using a knife or the thumb nail. If the shrimps/prawns are smelly, rub some lime juice/vinegar/yogurt and salt. Let it sit for few minutes. Then wash it several times to wash off the salt and lime juice.
Marinate - This is an optional step. Marinate cleaned shrimp with some salt and chili powder for 10 minutes to up to one hour.
Stir Fry - Use either a cast iron pan or a nonstick pan for the preparation. Heat oil and/or butter and roast red chilies (images #1-2). Then add shrimp and stir fry for few minutes until they curl up (image #3-4).
Add crushed garlic and cumin, chili powder and salt (image #5). Stir fry until garlic is light brown, shrimp is succulent and tender (image #6). Do not over cook.
Serve it as a starter with some lemon wedges on the side or as a side dish with rice. With liberal amount of oil/butter, serve it some bread and the butter/oil works as a great dip for the bread.
Tips & Frequently Asked Questions
Size of the shrimp depends on shrimp count. 16-20 or 26-30 count you see on the packet depends on the size of the shrimp. 16-20 count means you get 16-20 pieces of shrimp per pound. 26-30 count means you get 26 - 30 shrimps per pound.
After peeling and deveining, rub some salt and lime juice or yogurt or vinegar to shrimp. Let sit for few minutes and wash shrimp several times in clean water.
Detailed, Printable Recipe
Chili Garlic Shrimp
- 10" Frying or Saute Pan (cast iron or nonstick)
- Wooden Spoon
- Mixing Bowl
For Cleaning Shrimp
- 1 lb Shrimp peeled and deveined (I used jumbo shrimp, 16 – 20ct. with shell on)
- ½ teaspoon Salt opt. to be used when washing the shrimp
- 2 teaspoon Lime/Lemon Juice or Yogurt or Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoon Oil can use another tablespoon. Check note below.
- 1 tablespoon Butter optional
- 5 Dry Red Chilies
- 6 large Cloves of Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Chili Powder adjust to taste and can use another. teaspoon depending on heat tolerance level.
- ½ tsp Salt adjust to taste
- Peel & devein shrimp.
- This step is optional. I usually skip this step but follow it when shrimp is smelly. Rub ½ teaspoon salt & lime juice to shrimp and let stand for few minutes. Wash several times under running water.
- Squeeze excess water from the shrimp and keep aside in a bowl.
- Add 1 teaspoon of chili powder & salt to shrimp and mix well. Keep aside for at least 10 minutes.
- Crush together garlic and cumin seeds. When crushed, it would be about 1½ - 2 tbsp.
- In a 10” pan, take oil and butter (if using). When oil is hot, add whole or broken dry red chilies and saute until chilies change color.
- Add shrimp and saute on medium high until shrimp curl up a little, about 3-5 minutes. Turn or stir the shrimp for even cooking.
- When shrimp are 75% cooked, add crushed garlic, remaining chili powder, salt and stir.
- Continue to cook until shrimp are curled and well cooked. Keep stirring the shrimp for even cooking.
- Taste the shrimp and adjust salt & chili powder to taste.
- Serve hot as an appetizer with/without bread or as a side dish with rice.
- Oil - I usually make it with only oil. But when in mood for some indulgence, I use half oil and butter. I usually use 2 - 2½ of oil, in which case, keep an eye on shrimp and recommend a nonstick pan. You can easily use up to 4 tablespoon of oil.
- Butter - is optional but highly recommend using at least 1 -2 teaspoon of oil. Use 2-4 tablespoon of oil+butter combined.
- Shrimp - Recommend big shrimp and I usually use 16-26 count. 26-30 count also works.
- Frozen Shrimp - when using frozen shrimp, thaw shrimp completely before cooking. I prefer shell on frozen shrimp. It is extra work to peel the shrimp but it is worth the extra labor. If using peeled frozen shrimp, make sure shrimp is fully thawed.
- Dry Chilies - I used chilies from Indian store. Use any dry chilies of your choice and adjust the quantity as per the heat level of the chilies and your taste.
- Nutrition - Nutritional values are approximate values.
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This post was originally published in Sep 2015. Republished with new content and images.