Spicy Skewered Shrimp

Ebi no Kushi Yaki

You’ll be adding these shrimp to your summer barbecue menu often, I’m sure. In Japan they are often added to obentō (boxed lunches). You might like to pack these spicy shrimp into your next picnic basket, since they are also delicious cold or at room temperature.

Ingredients

  • 2 dozen fresh large shrimp, with shells and tails intact

Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (syrupy rice wine) or ½ tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1-2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 slender scallion, finely chopped (white and green parts)
  • 2-3 drops goma abura (aromatic sesame oil) or rāyu (hot chili oil)
  • vegetable oil for the skewers

Method

  1. Rinse the shrimp under cold water and pat them dry. They will be cooked with their shells on to keep them moist. If you want to remove the vein, carefully grasp it at the open end of the shrimp. Straighten out the slight curve of the back of the shrimp as you gently pull out the vein.
  2. Combine the marinade ingredients in a glass bowl and soak the shrimp in the mixture, covered, for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or up to 12 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and thread them on lightly oiled flat metal skewers. Shrimp naturally curve into a “c” shape. Alternate this curve so it opens left and right as you skewer the shrimp through the belly section. Place 4-6 shrimp on each skewer.
  4. It’s best to bring the skewers outdoors and grill them on a barbecue, but if, like me, you enjoy eating these shrimp year-round and you live in a city apartment, you can broil them instead. Preheat your broiler to the highest setting possible. Rest the tips of the skewers on the edges of a disposable foil broiling pan so that the shrimp are suspended in midair, and place them about 1 inch from the source of heat. Broil for 1½ minutes; flip the skewers over and broil for another minute. Brush the shrimp with some of the marinade, and then broil for 1½ more minutes—until the shells become chalky with a bit of charring and the meat is bright pink and opaque.
  5. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and serve them hot, in their shells, or let them cool a bit and remove the shells before bringing them to the table.

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