Sambal Oelek is one of my favorite pantry staples. If you should ever not find it in my pantry, call someone immediately, for I am not well. It’s an Asian fresh chile paste sold in most grocery stores these days. I didn’t discover it until I lived in New York for a bit. I still remember buying a bottle of it for the first time, not really knowing what it was. I twisted the lid off, removed the safety sealant, and took a whiff. I was in love. I knew it would taste amazing just based on the intoxicating chile smell. I swooned in anticipation of dipping a spoon in there and sampling it. I adore the taste of it, and use it whenever there’s an excuse. I will warn you that it is really hot and fiery. A little goes a very long way. I love it added to marinades, stir-fries, even curries. I never use more than a couple of teaspoons at a time, if that much. So imagine my surprise when I came across a recipe that instructed to marinate shrimp in two CUPS of this hot sauce! Yes, you read that correctly. Two cups. Despite my slight nervousness, I knew I had to try it. The results were delicious: plump, juicy shrimp with a wonderful sweet-hot Asian flavor. The Sambal didn’t blow our heads off at all, but its flavor definitely shone through. The shrimp were a gorgeous red color too. I would definitely make these again. Enjoy!
Source: Emeril Lagasse, “Emeril at the Grill”
2 cups sambal oelek
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup minced or grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup mirin
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs dark Asian sesame oil
3 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbs chopped fresh mint
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except the shrimp, cilantro, and mint. Whisk well to combine. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Place the shrimp in a large Ziploc bag and add all but 1/2 cup of the marinade. Allow the shrimp to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat your grill to medium-high and oil the grates.
Place the shrimp on the grill and cook until they are just done, about 2-3 minutes per side. You’ll now when the backsides are opaque and they are very firm to the touch.
Transfer the cooked shrimp to a large serving bowl. Add the reserved 1/2 cup marinade, cilantro, and mint. Toss well to combine. Serve immediately.