Friday, September 2, 2011

Pili Pili Shrimp - it's African Style!

The only thing this picture has to do with this post is that it's Africa, and I like it...

This is a recipe with a story... The first time I was in Uganda Suzanne took me to Quality Hill, which is a Belgian owned compound with a very nice restaurant, a patisserie, a butcher, a small vegetable market, and a hotel. They have the best ice cream in Kampala, which also figures into any plans to go there!

I was perusing the menu and saw "Pili Pili Shrimp" which was described basically as "shrimp with rice." So I asked the waiter, "What's Pili Pili Shrimp?"

Waiter: "African style."

Me: "What's African style?"

Waiter: "Pili pili."


Me: "Ok then..."

So I got it, of course. How could you not, after this description?! And it was delicious, a spicy red sauce over rice.

When I got home I did some research, and pili pili is a VERY hot (think hotter than scotch bonnet) pepper native to Eastern Africa. They make a marinade for just about any meat from it. I don't like things quite that hot, so came up with my own marinade. Here you go:


1 1/2-2 lb peeled shrimp
2 tbsp Gourmet Garden Chili Pepper Spice Blend (in a tube in the produce section) - more or less to taste
1/4 c olive oil/canola mix (half and half)
1/2 c chicken broth
kosher salt

Blend all ingredients except shrimp in a Magic Bullet or blender until smooth and pink. Pour over shrimp in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Marinate an hour, tossing a few times. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over med high heat. Cook shrimp until pink and firm - don't overcook! Serve with hot rice, spooning sauce over the top.

NOTE: In the summer when I had fresh picked hot peppers, I used those instead of the mix. But the mix is available all year, and is better than grocery store peppers.