Pepper shrimp are a popular Jamaican street food. It is so easy to cook you don’t need to wait to be in the border Parish towns to get it anymore. You can cook it in the comfort of your home. If you are even further away from home in a foriegn land, what a joy to know that a few simple ingredients could transport you home to the island. Be sure to get your hands on the key ingredients: annatto and hot peppers. You may use either Annatto powder or Annatto oil to give the shrimp the color we are so familiar with.
The Jamaican pepper shrimps are cooked with the heads and shells on. If you can’t find shrimp with the heads on, look for “peel and eat” shrimp in your grocery store. They will cook-up just as nicely as head-on shrimp. Shrimp will cook in under 10 minutes and in no time you will have a snack that dreams are made of. Give this recipe a try and leave me a comment below about how much you loved. There is a bonus recipe for a vinegar based sauce on larger shrimp in the video. Make sure you check that out!
For this recipe you will need:
- Large skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Cutting board
- Sharp Knife
- 2 disposable gloves
- 2lbs of shrimp with heads on
- 2 scallions
- 1 Thai Chili Pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 7 pimento seeds crushed
- 1/4 of an onion
- Leaves from 5 sprigs of thyme
- Maggi “Fish Season-Up” or 1 tbsp all purpose seasoning
- 2 whole scotch bonnet peppers cut up
- 1 tablespoon Annatto powder and 1 tsp for the pan.
- 1 tsp Sriracha powder
- 1 tbsp of oil
- Rinse and pat dry shrimp.
- Mince garlic. Chop onions and scallions finely. Add chopped aromatics to shrimp in a large bowl.
- To the bowl add fish season-up or all purpose seasoning, sriracha, annatto powder, thyme, pimento and scotch bonnets.
- Use a large spoon to combine seasonings on shrimp until the shrimp are properly coated in the seasoning.
- In a hot skillet add oil and remaining 1 tsp of annatto powder. Do not let the powder burn.
- Add shrimp to the hot skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan and cover.
- Once the shrimp start to turn pink, after about 3 minutes, use the wooden spoon to turn them. Cook shrimp on the other side for an additional 6 minutes and allow the sauce in the pan to reduce.
- Shrimp should be cooked in about 6 mins but cooking time may depend on the size of the shrimp. Once the shells turn pink on both sides, the shrimp is cooked.
- Do not overcrowd the pan. Each shrimp should touch the pan.You can cook the shrimp in batches if all of them do not fit in the skillet all at once.
- If you are using all purpose seasoning, you may not need salt. You can taste the shrimp for salt and adjust if necessary.