What Is Shrimp Diablo?

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  • Written By: Christian Petersen
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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Shrimp diablo is a spicy shrimp dish, usually consisting of shrimp in a tomato sauce, seasoned with chili peppers and garlic and served over rice. This dish is so named because of its fiery heat and red color, which evoke comparisons with the devil, also known asel diablo. Many variations of this dish exist, but all are based on the basic ingredients of tomatoes, chilies and shrimp.

Seafood dishes are extremely popular in many parts of the world, and shrimp is a favorite of seafood lovers everywhere. Shrimp goes well with spicy foods, and shrimp diablo is a perfect example of this. The shrimp in this dish are not breaded, but peeled and pan seared in hot oil. Chili infused oil is a good accent for this dish.

Tomatoes are another prime component of shrimp diablo. The sauce for this dish varies from recipe to recipe. Some cooks prefer fresh tomatoes, but canned tomatoes may be used as well. The sauce may be smooth but often exhibits a chunky texture from chopped or stewed tomato pieces. Tomato paste may be used to thicken the sauce.


Chili peppers provide the heat for shrimp diablo. Depending on the cook's preferences, a little or a lot of chilies can be added to the dish. Red chilies are usually used, in keeping with the overall red color of the dish, but hot green chilies like jalapeno may also be used. Fresh, chopped chilies, dried red pepper flakes, powdered cayenne pepper, or bottled hot pepper sauce are also suitable ingredients as is a combination of one or more of them. Chili pastes, like chipotle paste, with its smoky, hot flavor, may also be used.

Seasonings for shrimp diablo are usually fairly simple. Garlic is present in nearly all shrimp diablo recipes. To give the dish a regional flavor, cooks may use herbs like cilantro and parsley or traditional Italian herbs like basil and oregano. Thyme is another good compliment to shrimp dishes and is often found in shrimp diablo recipes. Spices like cumin and paprika, particularly hot paprika are also common additions to this dish.

Steamed white rice is the most common companion to this dish, and the shrimp in the sauce is usually served over the rice in a shallow bowl. Some cooks prefer to serve this dish with other starches like couscous or other pasta. Long pasta like angel hair or spaghetti are popular choices. Other pasta shapes, like bow tie or penne pasta, are also suited to this dish, as their shapes hold the sauce well.


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Post 3

For people who like this shrimp dish but prefer less heat, jalapeno peppers can be used to substitute chili peppers. While still adding heat to the recipe, they allow the other flavors to come through.

Post 2

I have tried this shrimp dish with ghost peppers, though eating these peppers is not for every one. They are extremely hot, so the heat overpowers most of the other flavors in this shrimp recipe. The extreme heat can also be quite uncomfortable for people who have never tried them before or who do not like very hot peppers.

Post 1

People who like their shrimp diablo very hot should try using Jamaican habanero peppers in this shrimp dish. These little peppers add quite a bit of heat, and are also red in color to fit the recipe.

Anyone who uses habanero peppers should keep in mind that it is important to take precautions when preparing them. Wearing kitchen gloves will prevent the pepper oils from burning the skin and eyes.

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