Camarones a la Diabla – or, the Devil’s shrimp – is a favorite Mexican dish of mine. The chile-based sauce can be made as hot or mild as you’d like, but for authenticity it should be fairly spicy. I’ve eaten incendiary versions in Mexico.
Take the time to char the main sauce ingredients before using them. This helps bring out the rich flavors of the chiles, tomatoes, etc.
4-5 Roma tomatoes
5-6 dried chiles de arbol, stemmed and seeded (more if you’d like the dish spicier)
2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
½ onion, peeled
1 clove garlic
1 Tbs ancho chile powder (or use cayenne if you want the sauce really spicy)
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt to taste
On an iron skillet over medium-high heat, char the dried chiles, onion, garlic (unpeeled) and tomatoes.
Peel the garlic and roughly chop the onion. Place them in a saucepan with 2 cups of water along with the chiles and tomatoes.
Bring the water to a boil and cook for 5 minutes or so, until the chiles are softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a bit.
Pour everything (including the water) from the saucepan into a blender.
Puree the ingredients until you have a fairly smooth sauce.
Transfer the pureed sauce back into the saucepan, stir in the ancho chile powder, and simmer until the sauce has thickened some, 20 to 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste, if necessary.
Just before serving, bring the sauce to a low boil and add the shrimp.
Simmer until the shrimp are cooked through but tender, about 10 minutes.
Serve the camarones a la Diabla with rice or tortillas.
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