Origin: Taste of the Islands
Method: Grill, Oven, or StovetopJump to Recipe
We came up with this recipe for Caribbean Fire Shrimp a couple summers ago during a bumper year for our garden peppers. We have always loved making fresh salsas and sauces with homegrown ingredients and this recipe has become one of our favorites. It is, without a doubt, spicy, but we find the sweetness of the tropical fruits balances the spice well. We like to make this in large batches and then can the rest for use throughout the year. Sometimes there is just nothing like a spicy, tropical dish in the dead of winter to remind you of the warm summer months ahead. With Covid-19 ruining all travel plans for the foreseeable future, at least we can enjoy a little bit of island paradise at home.
Preparing the Sauce for the Caribbean Fire Shrimp
Gather your ingredients and dice the onion. You will also want to remove the stems and seeds from all of the peppers and peal the ginger. It would not be a bad idea to wear gloves when handling the hot peppers and wash your hands really well after touching them.
We use an assortment of peppers from our garden for this recipe, some of which may be difficult to find depending on where you live. The key is to use a mix of sweet and hot peppers. For the mild peppers, we use small sweet peppers and an Anaheim pepper that are typically easily found in stores. We also use either Mad Hatter peppers or shishito peppers. Shishitos are becoming easier to find in markets as well and are one of our favorite peppers to snack on. If you can’t find mad hatter or shishitos then serranos would be a good substitute.
For the spicy peppers, we use a mix of scotch bonnet and Caribbean red habaneros. These may be more difficult to source so if you cannot find them, replace them with traditional habaneros. We also use 1-2 jalapenos in the sauce as well.
Add the peppers, onion, and ginger to a food processor and pulse until the peppers are finely chopped.
You want everything to be evenly sized so you may need to scrape the sides of the bowl a couple times and pulse again to get a nice even consistency.
Finally, add in the liquid ingredients, brown sugar, and mango and pineapple with their syrups. Blend in the food processor until nice and smooth. This recipe will make more than you need for a meal, but it keeps very well so we always can it for use throughout the year. You will typically need about 2 cups (1 pint) of the sauce for about 20 shrimp.
Cooking the Caribbean Fire Shrimp
For this recipe, you can use either shell on shrimp or shelled shrimp. Both work well. Our choice typically depends on the cooking method we choose.
Marinate the shrimp in the sauce for at least 4 hours or overnight. Reserve about a half a cup of the sauce for basting the shrimp.
There are 3 ways we typically prepare the shrimp, so use the option that works best for you. Our favorite method is to cook them on a salt block. We find this method is best with shell on shrimp because the shrimp tend to pick up a lot of the salt, but after you remove the shells to consume the shrimp, the salt level is perfect. For this method, preheat an oven to 350 degrees and preheat the salt block along with the oven. You will want to place the salt block on a pan or cookie sheet to prevent your oven from becoming a mess.
Cook the shrimp for about 5-7 minutes then flip the shrimp and baste with the reserved sauce. Continue to cook until the shrimp are cooked through, typically another 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp. When the shrimp curl into a “C” shape you will know they are done.
If you do not have a salt block, you can also cook the shrimp on a grill, or simply sauté them in a skillet over medium heat. When grilling the shrimp, we like to baste a couple times during the cook because you will lose some sauce into the fire.
Serving the shrimp
This recipe pairs perfectly with our Caribbean Rice and Beans. The coconut milk helps cut a bit of the heat and and works perfectly with the fruitiness of the dish. The shrimp also work well as a spicy appetizer.
Looking for more Caribbean inspired dishes? Check out our Taste of the Islands page.
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Caribbean Fire Shrimp
- Skillet, grill, or salt block
- food processor
- 3 Caribbean Red Habaneros
- 4 Scotch Bonnet Peppers
- 3 Sweet Peppers
- 3 Mild Peppers such as Shishito, Mad Hatter, or serrano
- 1 Jalapeno
- 1 Anaheim Pepper
- 1/2 White Onion diced
- 1 inch Ginger peeled and diced
- 1 Tab Garlic minced
- 8.25 oz Crushed Pineapple in Heavy Syrup
- 15 oz Diced Mango in Heavy Syrup
- 1/4 cup Light Beer
- 1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 Tab Apple Cider Vinegar
- Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers. Consider wearing gloves when handling the hot peppers.
- Add the peppers, onion, ginger, and garlic to a food processor and pulse until everything is evenly and finely diced.
- Add in the liquid ingredients, brown sugar, and canned fruit with their syrups. Pulse in the food processor until well combined. (See Note)
- You will need about 1 pint (2 cups) of sauce for 20 shrimp. Reserve about 1/2 a cup for basting the shrimp, then use the remaining 1.5 cups to marinate the shrimp. Marinate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. You can use shelled or shell on shrimp for this recipe, but the recipe works best with large shrimp.
- When you are ready to cook, remove the shrimp from the marinade. You can cook the shrimp on a salt block in the oven at 350 degrees (our favorite), on a grill, or simply cooked in a skillet on the stovetop. With whatever method you use, flip the shrimp half way through and baste them with the remaining sauce. Cook the shrimp to your desired doneness.
- Enjoy as a spicy appetizer or on top of some Caribbean rice and beans as a meal.