Most often, recipes for Mexican-style devilishly hot shrimp – camarones a la diabla – involves destemming, deseeding and charring dried peppers, then reconstituting them in water, etc. This version is a quicker, simplified one that uses chile powder rather than dried chiles. Give it a try!
- 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 Tbsp New Mexico chile powder (you could also experiment with other chiles, like guajillo, pasilla, etc.)
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 16 oz. tomato sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, de-stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup Mexican hot sauce, such at El Pato
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- In a blender, puree the chile powder, spices, salt & pepper, garlic, jalapenos, hot sauce and tomato sauce until smooth. If the mixture is too thick (it should be like a thin gravy), add a little chicken broth or water.
- In a small-to-medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high. When the oil is hot enough to make a drop of the sauce sizzle, carefully add the puree (it may splatter) and stir well until the mixture thickens some, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and stir. Partially cover the pot, lower the heat, and allow the diabla sauce to simmer and thicken, about 30 minutes.
- Near the end of the cooking time for the diabla sauce, melt the butter along with the remaining 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the sliced onions and cook, until slightly wilted, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet with the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are just pink but not quite cooked through; they’ll finish cooking in the sauce.
- Carefully pour the diabla sauce into the skillet with the shrimp and stir well. Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes in the sauce, until cooked through. Taste the sauce for spiciness and add additional Mexican hot sauce, as needed.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.