One of my favorite things to watch nowadays is the Bon Appetit YouTube channel. I feel like everyone’s watching it. I personally love it because it depicts cooking in a very messy, chaotic, and relatable way, which is what it’s actually like in normal kitchens. In the midst of this chaos, they squeeze in lessons about how to brown butter or how to make the perfect cake. It’s amazing. I was watching a video on the channel a couple weeks ago where Andy, one of the chefs in the test kitchen, was making a shrimp stir fry. It was so easy, and it looked good! So I wanted to do my own take on that recipe because I am always looking for an easy weeknight meal. That’s how I came up with this recipe for spicy lemongrass shrimp.
- Shrimp – The star of this dish! I love the sweetness of shrimp and how quickly it cooks on the stove. Any type of shrimp should work for this recipe. I just picked the cheapest option at the store.
- Garlic – Adds more flavor to the marinade.
- Lemongrass – Lemongrass is one of my favorite ingredients to use in the kitchen. It has a slightly sour flavor that adds brightness to a dish. This ingredient is the base of this dish.
- Fish sauce – Adds saltiness and umami flavor to the marinade. Three Crabs Brand fish sauce is my favorite kind of fish sauce.
- Coconut sugar – Adds sweetness to the dish. I used coconut sugar in all of my savory foods that call for sugar because it is less sweet than traditional sugar. If you don’t have coconut sugar available, brown sugar would be a good substitute for this recipe.
- Vegetable oil – The vegetable oil loosens up the marinade so it spreads easier. Any type of light oil should work for this marinade.
- Red chili peppers – Adds color and kick to this marinade. I used red fresno chilis for this marinade. If you don’t like spicy foods, I would recommend using 1 red bell pepper as a substitute.
- Salt – Brings out the flavor of other ingredients in the marinade.
- Sake – I used sake to make a sauce out of the leftover marinade. If you don’t have sake, I would recommend white wine, chicken stock or water.
- Lime – Adds brightness to the dish. In my opinion, seafood should always have a splash of citrus at the end.
- Thai basil – Used as garnish for the dish. It adds color and extra flavor.
Making my spicy lemongrass shrimp
This recipe is so easy that it took me longer to write this blog post than to actually make this dish. The first step is to make your marinade. Dump garlic, lemongrass, fish sauce, coconut sugar, vegetable oil, red chili peppers, and salt into a blender. Blitz until a smooth marinade forms. Spoon the marinade over the shrimp and let sit for 10 minutes. After letting it sit, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp one at a time in one layer to the pan. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Cook for 1 minute on each side until the shrimp is cooked through.
Last step is to make the sauce. Dump the marinade into a small pan with 1 tablespoon of sake. Let it cook until it starts to boil. Remove from the heat and spoon over shrimp. Garnish with green onions and Thai basil, and squeeze a bit of lime juice over the top.
Tips on how to make the perfect lemongrass shrimp
- Pat dry your shrimp – The key to getting good caramelization on the shrimp is to make sure it’s as dry as possible. Place 2-3 pieces of paper towels on a baking sheet. Put the shrimp on top in one layer. Then add another 2-3 pieces of paper towels on top of the shrimp.
- Cut your ingredients into small chunks – Even though you’re dumping everything into your blender, it’s better to cut your ingredients into smaller sizes. Not every blender is created equal, so you’ll get better results if you break down your ingredients before blending. It’s almost like an insurance policy.
- Be care not to overcook your shrimp – Shrimp is so easy to overcook. They really shouldn’t be cooking more than 1 minute per side. Cooked shrimp is white in the middle and orange on the outside. I used shrimp that was already de-shelled, so it was easy for me to tell when they were done. The center turned a white color.
Making coconut rice
I’m going to do a longer post on making coconut rice but here is the quick recipe I used. This coconut rice pairs perfectly with this lemongrass shrimp. First toast 3/4 cup of rice in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. This should take about a minute. Then add in 3/4 cup of coconut milk and 3/4 cup of water. Bring the liquid to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer slightly uncovered for 20-30 minutes.
Did you make this spicy lemongrass shrimp?
If you made this dish, I would love to see!
Spicy Lemongrass Shrimp with Coconut Rice
- 1 1/2 lb shrimp
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 stalks lemongrass
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 red chili peppers
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sake
- 1 lime
- 1 tbsp Thai basil
- Make your marinade. Dump garlic, lemongrass, fish sauce, coconut sugar, vegetable oil, red chili peppers, and salt into a blender. Blitz until a smooth marinade forms. Spoon the marinade over the shrimp and let sit for 10 minutes.
- After letting it sit, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp one at a time in one layer to the pan. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Cook for 1 minute on each side until the shrimp is cooked through.
- Make the sauce. Dump the marinade into a small pan with 1 tablespoon of sake. Let it cook until it starts to boil. Remove from the heat and spoon over shrimp.
- Garnish with green onions and Thai basil, and squeeze some lime juice over the top before serving.