Spicy Gambas is a Filipino adaptation of Gambas al Ajillo, one of many famous “tapas”. Originally, an appetizer from the south and center regions of Spain, it is prepared by sautéing shrimp and garlic in olive oil. Many versions have arisen and Filipinos usually serve it as a “pulutan”, a finger food paired with beers or as a main entrée with rice.
The secret to a good spicy gambas is cooking the shrimps right. It is important to avoid overcooking the shrimps so they don’t turn rubbery. Another important factor is to avoid burning the garlic or they will impart a bitter taste to the dish. If you remember this, Spicy gambas is actually quick and easy to prepare.
1 kilo medium size white shrimp (suahe)
Brining solution (1cup water: 1 tablespoon salt)
3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1-2 pieces chili peppers (siling labuyo), chopped
2 pieces finger chilies (siling haba), chopped
2 teaspoons sweet Spanish paprika
Prepare shrimps. Wash and peel skin and heads off. Soak in brining solution for 30-45 minutes. Drain off liquid and pat dry with kitchen towel.
In a pan over low heat, pour 3-4 tablespoons olive oil. Add garlic and chilies, and sauté for a minute. Add sweet Spanish paprika then the shrimp. Sauté until shrimps are just cooked, approximately 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove from heat immediately.
Sprinkle chopped parsley on top and serve
The recipe does not require adding salt during cooking since the shrimps are brined. However, you can add salt if preferred. Some also add button mushrooms and onions to the dish.