Southern Spain Recipes – Gambas Ajillo (Shrimps in Garlic)

Gambas Ajillo


  • 1 kg fresh white shrimps, shelled
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1 large dry red hot chilli pepper, chopped and sliced thinly with seeds
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • Pinch of salt


The Spanish use a cazuela pot when cooking this dish as this is the most traditional method.A cazuela is an earthernware dish that can be used either on top of the oven over a gas flame or for baking inside the main oven. Remember however to leave this dish to cool before washing as it may crack due to extreme, rapid changes in temperature. A deep frying pan is a suitable alternative to cook this recipe, however it would be worth transferring the ingredients into a more attractive hot dish before serving at the table.


Heat the olive oil in the cazuela over a medium flame. Add the garlic and allow to sizzle for a minute or two, until golden in colour.

Add the chillies and cook for a further minute, removing from heat when the garlic begins to turn brown. Be careful not to overcook the garlic as this ruins the flavour and you would have to start over again.

Add the shelled shrimps to the pot but do not return to the heat. Leave to cook in the hot oil for 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt.

Serve with fresh bread.

Serves 4 as a tapa or starter