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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Filipino Spicy Gambas

Have I told you that I am a BIG fan of shrimps???  Whether it's simply boiled, grilled, or sauteed, and  just plain or with vegetables or pasta, I love it! When I was pregnant with both Clarise & Cherlin, I was eating shrimps all the time! I guess that's why both of them love shrimps too!

One Filipino shrimp dish that I love to cook is the Spicy Gambas. If Bicol Express is the spiciest pork dish in the Philippines, Spicy Gambas is the spiciest seafood dish.  In this dish, Gambas (which is the Spanish word for prawns) is cooked with siling labuyo (bird's eye chili) in tomato sauce. When I was a little girl, my father loved to cook this dish whenever he had friends coming over to our house. Though his version is really spicy because of all the bird's eye chilies in it, I loved it and he couldn't stop me from eating it. I remember my father cooking it for me with no bird's eye chilies. He said it's kid friendly that way and I will enjoy it more. 

My daughters are still young and they don't like too spicy food, so I very seldom cook this dish as spicy as it should be. But today, I'm sharing with you my usual version of Filipino Spicy Gambas which is a modified version of my father's recipe based on what ingredients are available here in TX. Ryan and I love this with hot rice. It's also good with a bottle of beer! When I cook this for my daughters, I just remove the anaheim pepper and the chili sauce. With just the bell pepper, it has this sweet flavor that they really love!

  • 1 lb. shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon extract
  • ½ Tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into 2" strips
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into 2" strips
  • 2 pcs. anaheim pepper, seeds removed and bias sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. rice wine
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ Tbsp Chili Sauce (or less, depending on how hot you want it)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine ½ Tbsp fish sauce, lemon extract, garlic powder and 1/8 tsp black pepper in a bowl. Marinate shrimps for at least 15 minutes.
2. In a wok over medium heat, saute garlic in olive oil until light brown. Add onion and saute until translucent.

3. Add the shrimps and saute just until they turn light pink. Remove shrimps from skillet and set aside.
4. Add anaheim and bell pepper into the skillet. Saute for a minute. 

5. Add tomato sauce, rice wine, chili sauce and remaining fish sauce and allow to simmer for 3 minutes.

6. Add salt and pepper to suit your taste. Put back the shrimps. Mix well with other ingredients. Simmer for another minute.

7. Remove from heat. Serve hot with rice!