Shrimp “on the barbie,” aka grill, is Australia’s most famous culinary export. Even if you know nothing else about Down Under cooking, you’re surely aware of how much Australians love grilling—especially seafood. If the truth be told, shrimp is something of a misnomer, as most Australians would say “prawns.” The Chinese roots of this dish are obvious—a legacy of the huge influx of Asian immigrants to Australia in the 1970s and 80s. I love the way the sweetness of the honey and five-spice powder play off the nuttiness of the sesame seeds and sesame oil and the brininess of the shrimp and soy sauce.
1½poundsjumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (see box)
5tablespoonsAsian (dark) sesame oil
3tablespoonsrice wine, sake, or dry sherry
1tablespoonThai sweet chile sauce (optional; see Note)
½teaspoonChinese five-spice powder
2clovesgarlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a cleaver
2slices (¼inch thick) peeled fresh ginger
2scallions, trimmed, white part flattened with the side of a cleaver, green part finely chopped and set aside for garnish
Rinse the shrimp under cold running water, then drain them and blot dry with paper towels.
Combine 3tablespoons of the sesame oil, the rice wine, soy sauce, honey, sesame seeds, chile sauce (if using), and five-spice powder in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Stir in the garlic, ginger, scallion whites, and shrimp and toss to coat, then cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp from the marinade to a bowl and toss it with the remaining 2tablespoons of sesame oil. Pour the marinade into a saucepan. Using the slotted spoon, remove and discard the garlic, ginger, and scallion whites. Bring the marinade to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, uncovered, until it is a thick, syrupy glaze, about 3 minutes. Remove the glaze from the heat and set aside.
Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.
When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the shrimp on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until nicely browned on the outside and firm and pink inside, about 2 minutes per side. Brush the shrimp with the glaze as they cook.
Transfer the shrimp to serving plates or a platter, sprinkle the scallion greens on top, and serve with lime wedges.