This is easily my favourite shrimp dish. I am not sure what is the star of this dish – the shrimp or the sauce. It is all so good!
If you have ever had Singapore chili crab, then you are familiar with the sauce in this recipe. I love it so much, that I will find any excuse to use the sauce in other dishes. That is how I came up with this Singapore chili shrimp recipe. I have cooked this dish for many years and it is now a staple in our family and a favourite way to cook shrimp.
What Makes Singapore Chili Shrimp So Good?
I am not sure what is my favourite part of this dish: the shrimp or the sauce. The shrimp and plump and perfectly cooked and coated with the delicious sauce. But, man this sauce is so amazing and I find that I spoon extra sauce onto my plate just so that I can sop it up with a piece of crusty bread. The sauce is spicy and sweet with such deep flavours.
- Shrimp – I like to use large black tiger shrimp with this Singapore chili shrimp recipe. My preference is to not peel the shrimp prior to making this dish. But, if you desire, the shrimp could be peeled and prepped ahead of time.
- Red chili peppers – this ingredient is what gives the sauce the nice kick of heat. There are many different types of chili peppers, but I use large red chilies that are a bit bigger than he size of a finger.
- Ginger – a big chunk of fresh ginger that is peeled is great, but you could also use a few tablespoons of grated ginger, from a jar, that you can purchase at your local supermarket. Both will work just fine.
- Garlic – I like to use whole cloves, but in the same way as the ginger, you could also use a few tablespoons of garlic that you can get in a jar (both blended and minced varieties will work great)
- Cilantro stems – The stems of the cilantro are many times discarded, but they add a nice bright flavour to many different asian dishes. They are great when blended up into the paste.
- Soy sauce
- Fish sauce
- Garam Masala – some of these spices might seem odd for a Singapore chili shrimp recipe, but they add such a depth of flavour to the sauce!
- Crushed tomatoes – I use canned crushed tomatoes, but you could also use tomato passata or even canned tomato sauce. If you use tomato sauce, it may be necessary to reduce the amount of sugar since sauce from a can is typically sweetened.
- Sugar – this gives the sauce a sweetness that we just love. Feel free to reduce the sugar by half if you are looking for a sauce that is less sweet and more on the spicy and savoury style.
- Lime Juice
How to Make the Chili Paste
Blending the paste is best done with a food processor. Add the chili peppers, red onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro stems, spices, soy sauce and fish sauce to the processor. Pulse for about 1-2 minutes or until the past is smooth and well blended.
While blending in the food processor, it might be necessary to add a little bit of water to thin the paste enough to allow it to blend properly. Also, make sure to scrape the sides and then pulse some more.
Sauté the Chili Paste
I like to make Singapore chili shrimp in a wok. It is large enough that allows for easy stirring. But, you could also use any large skillet or pot.
First start by heating the oil in the wok over medium heat. Then add the chili paste you blended in the food processor. Sauté, stirring often for 10-15 minutes. The aroma from the paste should be amazing as it simmers.
Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and lime juice. Stir until well mixed in with the chili paste. Continue to let this sauce simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
As the sauce simmers, it might seem to get too thick. Feel free to add a little bit of water (about 1/4 cup at a time) and stir it in to thin the sauce out.
Once the sauce has had a chance to cook and simmer, it is now time to add the shrimp. Dump in the shrimp and toss to coat the shrimp in the sauce.
How Long to Cook Shrimp
Shrimp does not take long to cook. Let the shrimp simmer in the sauce for about 10-15 minutes. Make sure to stir regularly so that all the shrimp will cook evenly. They should all be nice and bright pink on all sides of the shrimp. If any parts of the shrimp are still grey, they may need to be cooked a little longer.
Once the shrimp has been fully cooked, remove the wok from the heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with crusty bread (which is perfect for sopping up the incredible sauce), or Asian noodles or a side of rice.
More Great Shrimp Recipes!
- Grilled Pesto Shrimp
- Louisiana Barbecue Shrimp
- Vietnamese Shrimp Cold Spring Rolls
- Thai Green Shrimp Curry
- Grilled Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Mango Cilantro Salad
Singapore Chili Shrimp
- 6 red chili peppers , with stem removed
- 1/2 red onion , peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 inch whole ginger , peeled and roughly chopped
- 8 cloves garlic , peeled
- 1 bunch cilantro stems , washed thoroughly
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp oil
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 pounds shrimp
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro , chopped
- Add chili peppers, red onion, peeled ginger, garlic cloves, cilantro stems, salt, cumin, cinnamon, garam masala, fish sauce and soy sauce to a food processor. Pulse until a smooth paste is formed. If needed, add a little bit of water as it is blending, to help a smooth paste develop.
- Heat oil in a wok or large skillet/pan over medium heat. Pour in the paste and let the paste simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Stir often and if the paste seems to be sticking to the bottom of the pan, you may need to reduce the heat slightly to a medium low temperature.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, sugar, vinegar and lime juice. Continue to let the sauce cook and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are cooked through. This should take about 10-15 minutes more. Stir the shrimp in the sauce regularly during cooking to make sure that they are all cooked evenly.
- Serve with crusty bread, with Asian noodles or a side of rice.