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Sizzling Gambas al ajillo (Garlic Shrimp)

Gambas al ajillo or garlic shrimp is a sizzling seafood dish made with fresh peeled and deveined shrimps, in a sauce made with garlic, paprika, chili flakes, butter, salt, pepper and oil. Adopted from the Spanish sizzling gambas dish, this recipe is highly seasoned and spiced with the paprika powder and chili flakes. With the combination of the seafood, spicy, buttery and garlic flavor, the Gambas al ajillo is best eaten as an ulam or enjoyed as an appetizer or pulutan. Yum!

Gambas recipe

GAMBAS (GARLIC SHRIMP) RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • ½ kilo shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 bulb garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • chili flakes to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • oil

Directions:

  1. Heat enough oil in a pan. Add the chopped garlic and then saute for a few minutes until fragrant. Then, add the chili flakes and saute a bit.
  2. Add the shrimps to the pan and stir fry for a whole minute until they change color.
  3. Add the paprika powder. Season with some salt and pepper. Stir fry for a few seconds before turning the heat off.
  4. Heat the sizzling plate and melt some butter. Add the garlic shrimp while sizzling. Decorate the top with sliced green chilies.
  5. Serve the sizzling plate with gambas. Make papak or have this on top of a big bowl of hot steaming rice. Also a good pulutan to an ice cold beer. Yum!

GAMBAS (GARLIC SHRIMP)

Disclaimer: If you’re a vampire, then this dish is not suitable for you.

I began loving garlicky dishes when I was a child, after I learned that vampires and aswangs are afraid of garlic. While most children hate garlic, I have always loved them especially when they are infused in a buttery dish.

One of the best partners for the butter and garlic flavor is the shrimp and prawns. They have a mild seafood taste which best fits this type of humble sauces.

Instead of actual ingredients, using powdered seasonings are very much convenient to use in a lot of ways. One of my favorite seasonings is the paprika powder. Fun fact: Did you know that paprika powder is made from roasted, dried and powdered red bell peppers? If you have been a fan of my blogs, you know that I love bell peppers so much!!

Knowing about the Spanish sizzling gambas made me super excited since this dish literally have all of my favorite ingredients. The spanish version uses olive oil, so I made a version using butter.

If shrimps, butter and garlic makes you giggle too, read and follow the quick steps below to enjoy your gambas today! Happy cooking!

PREPARING YOUR SHRIMPS

Gambas are simply a large variety of prawns. Preparation of the gambas before cooking follows similar processes as the shrimps.

While shrimps are very quick to cook compared to other meats, they require extra preparation especially when you want to skip the peeling and just eat them right on the spot.

Shrimps may vary in size but their anatomical features are still similar. To start, wash and rinse the shrimps properly. I recommend you to use gloves or be very careful in handling them since they still have their “sungot”. If your recipe needs the shrimp head, slice or cut off the sungot using a knife or kitchen scissors. If your recipe do not need the head just like this one, twist the head and then simply pull it out gently to prevent crushing the meat.

Then, the next part would be deveining the shrimp. Fun fact: Did you know that the vein that we remove during the deveining process is actually the shrimps digestive tract (stomach)? Meaning, this vein is not dirty! But most people still like to devein their shrimps.

Deveining the shrimps is difficult for some so let me share you some hacks:

To devein a shrimp, you can use tools like a pairing knife (small knife), a toothpick or a fork. Simply locate the third segment on the shrimp (after the head) and then gently scoop the vein out.

Now that you’ve deveined the shrimp and removed the head, the only thing left are the legs and the shell. A shrimp has a lot of legs and you need to pull them out by group. Do not attempt to pull them all at once as this may crush the meat.

Legs are sometimes remove at the same time you remove the shells. The shells can be removed either with bare hands or using kitchen scissors. If you will be using scissors, simply cut the back of the shrimp to reveal the meat. If by hand, it would be easier to pull the shell after you remove the legs.

Now that you have peeled and deveined shrimps, now is the time to make them into gambas!

HOW TO MAKE GAMBAS (GARLIC SHRIMP)

Making some garlic shrimp is super duper quick and easy. Once you see that a recipes uses shrimp as main meat, you know that this can be prepared in just minutes! Plus, this recipe uses minimal ingredients which are always in your pantry. This budget friendly and easy recipe is best for those that in a rush.

Start with getting the freshest shrimp. You can usually get them when you go to the market during early morning where the shrimps are newly delivered. For this recipe, we want the largest shrimps since we want them to absorb the gambas garlic sauce and the seasonings so well.

Before anything else, prepare a lot of garlic because this is super garlicky! If you will be making a large batch of this dish, then I recommend you to use an easy chopper device so you can chop a lot of garlic in just a few minutes.

Peel and prepare your shrimps using the hacks stated above. Saute the garlic in oil, long enough to infuse all the garlic flavor in it. Take note that garlic turns brown easily once it turns light brown. (We don’t want a burnt taste!) To make the oil spicy, I used some chili flakes. You can also use some chili powder or hot sauce if you like. Think of this sauce as the chili garlic oil which is much more garlicky.

Stir fry the shrimps for a bit. Shrimps turn orange in color when cooked. Flip them from time to time. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp as they might become dry or too chewy.  Add the paprika powder, salt and pepper. If you want some fresh crunch, you can add chopped green and red bell peppers during the last minutes of cooking. You can also balance the spicyness by adding a little sugar.

Garlic shrimp gambas are best served in a sizzling plate. Make sure to melt some butter (or margarine) first before adding them.

I usually enjoy my gambas either as an appetizer or as an ulam to my rice. When eaten as pulutan, I always make sure to make it extra spicy! Yum!

COOKING TIPS

  • ●      If you still want to intensify the garlic flavor of this dish, you can add some garlic powder.
  • ●      If you want to skip the chopping garlic up to sauteing them in oil, you can use chili garlic oil as the base.

Gambas

Course: Seafood
Servings

4

servings

Ingredients

  • ½ kilo shrimp (peeled and deveined)

  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder

  • 1 bulb garlic (minced)

  • chili flakes to taste

  • salt to taste

  • pepper to taste

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • oil

Directions

  • Heat enough oil in a pan. Add the chopped garlic and then saute for a few minutes until fragrant. Then, add the chili flakes and saute a bit.
  • Add the shrimps to the pan and stir fry for a whole minute until they change color.
  • Add the paprika powder. Season with some salt and pepper. Stir fry for a few seconds before turning the heat off.
  • Heat the sizzling plate and melt some butter. Add the garlic shrimp while sizzling. Decorate the top with sliced green chilies.
  • Serve the sizzling plate with gambas. Make papak or have this on top of a big bowl of hot steaming rice. Also a good pulutan to an ice cold beer. Yum!

Gambas Recipe in Tagalog

Mga Sangkap:

  • ½ kilo hipon (nalinis at wala nang balat)
  • 1 buong bawang (tinadtad)
  • 1 kutsaritang paprika powder
  • chili flakes
  • asin
  • paminta
  • 1 kutsaritang butter
  • mantika

Paano Lutuin:

  1. Magpainit ng mantika sa kawali. Ilagay ang bawang ay at igisa ng ilang minuto. Sunod na ilagay ang chili flakes at igisa ng konti.
  2. Ilagay ang mga hipon at istir fry ng 1 minuto hanggang mag iba ang kulay.
  3. Maglagay ng paprika powder at timplahan ng asin at paminta. Istir fry ang mga hipon ng ilan pang segundo bago patayin ang apoy.
  4. Magpainit ng sizzling plate at tunawin ang butter. Ilagay ang garlic shrimp habang mainit pa para magsizzle. Lagyan ng hiniwang siling haba ang ibabaw nito.
  5. Ihain ang garlic shrimp sa sizzling plate. Papakin, samahan ng mainit na kanin, o enjoyin ito bilang pulutan kasama ng malamig na beer. Yum!
Gambas

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