Spiced Skillet Shrimp 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Dinner in Minutes Dec 18, 2013

No news flash here: Shrimp cooks fast. But you might not have tried it before with this particular blend of spices, chives and citrus.

If you’re starting with frozen shrimp, add 15 minutes to the prep time. Place the frozen shrimp in a bowl filled with cool water. Defrost for 15 minutes, changing the water a few times and separating any shrimp that have clumped together.

In warmer weather, it’s nice to serve the shrimp nestled in leaves of bibb lettuce. These days, think about using them to top a bed of couscous with sauteed vegetables stirred in, or wrapping them in a warm flour tortilla.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1-inch piece ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • 10 to 20 chive stems
  • 1 1/4 pounds fresh or defrosted tail-on, peeled and deveined extra-large shrimp (26-30 count)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, peel the ginger, then grate or shred it. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the allspice berries and fennel seed, or combine them in a small zip-top bag, seal and crush with a rolling pin. Mince the chives (to taste).

Once the oil shimmers, add the ginger and crushed spices; stir constantly for 1 or 2 minutes, until the ginger turns light brown. Add the shrimp; fry for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly, just until the shrimp turn pink and opaque.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a serving bowl. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half evenly over the shrimp, being careful not to let seeds slip through. Depending on how you are going to serve the shrimp, you might want to discard the tails at this point.

Season the shrimp with the salt (to taste) and the pepper, then sprinkle the chives on top. Serve right away.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Southern Fried: More Than 150 Recipe for Crab Cakes, Fried Chicken, Hush Puppies and More,” by James Villas (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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