Easy Jamaican Hot Pepper Shrimp
Hot pepper shrimp make an ideal light summer meal or starter. It’s a no fuss main that packs a punch. A handful of ingredients come together to make magic in this simple dish that highlights the flavours of the sea.
Years ago, I used to spend quite a bit of time in Jamaica. This beautiful Caribbean island is about much more than sand and sea. It also boasts a rich culture, a tradition of hospitality, and a cuisine which — if you’re lucky enough to experience them — are unforgettable.
Along the drive back to Kingston from Negril, there’s a shrimp shack that makes the most incredible hot pepper shrimp. It’s a simple, open air restaurant with a couple of burners, a tiny outdoor seating area, and a majestic view of the Caribbean Sea. The menu is simple: hot pepper shrimp and cold drinks.
However, those shrimp are unforgettable. It’s impossible to pass without stopping! This simple recipe is inspired by my taste memory of those fantastic shrimp.
About this Recipe
As with any simple recipe, ingredients are king here. Use the freshest, highest quality ingredients and this dish will sing.
Shrimp: Fresh or Frozen?
Unfortunately, I don’t live near the sea these days, and we’re in the midst of a pandemic. So, I used ethically, sustainably-sourced frozen shrimp in this recipe.
However, you can certainly use fresh shrimp. In South Africa, large prawns (which is what I used) are about 35 per 500 grams. That’s the correct size to select.
Be sure to devein the shrimp (leaving the shells on) prior to cooking. Then, remove the “broth” from the heat prior to adding the fresh shrimp. Put the lid back on the pot and leave to sit until the shrimp are poached and fully cooked. This will take 5-10 minutes tops. However, the longer you leave the shrimp in the cooling broth, the more flavourful they will be. If desired, you can leave them to poach for up to an hour.
I hope you and your family enjoy Jamaican hot pepper shrimp every bit as much as we do. Bon appétit!