Recipe: Peri-Peri Shrimp with Lime Rice and Salsa Fresca

I can honestly say I ate this waaaaay too fast. 
Unfortunately, I don't have any process pictures for this dish. This could very well be classified under "too-excited-to-remember-anything-but-cook-and-eat" dishes. Yup, I pretty much space out when I'm really hungry and when I'm really excited to devour the food I'm about to make. 

I highly recommend this dish for either winter (if you want the heat and the freshness of the vegetables - just a break from all the chowder-stew winter menu) or for summer (because it just screams fresh!)

The first time I ever tasted Peri-Peri anything was in 2009, when I lived in Australia. One menu item (in the restaurant I worked at) was the Peri-Peri Shrimps. From the moment I first tasted it, it was the one constant menu item I'd order again and again if I ever did dine at our restaurant (i.e. when Carlo visited Australia, when I'd meet up with friends or family that wanted to eat there, etc.). The blend of ingredients was just so explosive in every way - the tanginess and spice of the sauce, the succulent and tender shrimp, the freshness of the lime, and served with the perfectly done rice pilaf. Ever since I left Australia, this would be one of the dishes I'd constantly crave for. And I remember having to do the sauce at the restaurant before. Well, I personally didn't do it because it required some muscle-work carrying the giant-restaurant-grade immersion blender. So I'd watch either Michael or Matty blend that bucket of chillies and it never failed... we'd be tearing up (just little crying... because they're big boys) because of the sting of the chillies that roamed around the kitchen. 

Peri-peri sauce is actually from South Africa (no wonder it was in our menu - the owners were from there) and is made by pulverizing and/or stewing African bird’s eye chillies, vinegar, onions, salt, sweet peppers, garlic, and lemon juice. Recipes vary but they should have the same effect - spicy, flavourful, and yummy. You can just imagine how much tang is in there. If you love spicy food, you'll go nuts with this sauce. If you haven't tried it, I'm telling you... you're missing out. This sauce is also widely used in Portuguese cooking as some of their dishes use this as well. Their roasted chicken basted with this sauce is just purely addicting. (Thank you for all the Nando's franchisees.)

Lucky enough for the modern epicure, there are ready-made sauces out there. You can always depend on Nando's and their line of sauces. I wanted to try to make it at home but unfortunately, my husband's allergic to spice (mainly chilli oils and anything with heat). So I'm not gonna lie, I bought a bottle of sauce from a churrasco at St. Lawrence Market here in Toronto. I also found a few bottles at one of the shops at Kensington Market but I still had a bottle at home I had to finish. 

So I decided to make this dish and cut the spice with the creaminess of the avocado and the freshness of the tomato salsa. (As I'm typing this, I'm craving it again. Focus, Luzee!)
Peri-Peri Shrimp with Lime Rice and Salsa Fresca
This can make 2 servings. I only made one spicy (mine) and Carlo's was just a lemon-garlic-butter-non-spicy shrimp version. 

You'll need the following: a skillet, tongs, a chopping board, 2 mixing bowls, and.... I think that's it. 

3 cups cooked white long-grain rice (We use Jasmine rice because it smells like heaven.)
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime
lime zest
salt and pepper

2-3 medium firm Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp red onion, diced (Optional... well, for me - just because I don't like the taste of raw onions.)
1-2 tsp jalapeño, diced (Optional again, and you can add more if you really like it spicy.)
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs shrimp, PD/D/21-25 (Relax, this isn't some culinary code and I've just decided to leave you hanging. It just means "peeled, deveined, and get the 21-25 pieces per pound. Pat them dry.)
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup Peri-Peri sauce (No problem if you bought a ready-made sauce. If you decide to make your own, recipe is below.)
2 tbsp cream (Optional - but cream does add a nice silky and more spice-subdued sauce.)

1 avocado, sliced

cilantro, chopped, for garnish

1. Let's make the Lime Rice first. Sauté the onions in a skillet, medium heat. Add the garlic until golden brown. Add the cooked rice and fold while sautéing, you don't want to crush or violently split the rice. Add the lime juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Let's make the Salsa Fresca now! Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix gently so you don't squish out any of the tomatoes. You want nice distinguishable chunks. Season to taste and set aside.
3. And now, the shrimps! Heat your skillet to medium-high. In a bowl, toss the shrimp in olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Sear each shrimp about 2-3 minutes per side. (DO NOT OVERCROWD THE PAN. You want them to sear, not to steam. If you don't give each shrimp some space and socially distance themselves from each other, they won't sear nicely. They will end up steaming and being overcooked and gummy.)
4. Once you've flipped and cooked each shrimp, set aside. On the same skillet, add the peri-peri sauce and simmer for 3 minutes. If you do want to add cream, go ahead and add it after 2 minutes and let it simmer while whisking.
5. Add the shrimp and simmer for about a minute.
6. In a plate, assemble your meal. Get a good helping of Lime Rice and Salsa Fresca. Top the rice with the peri-peri shrimp. Place your avocado in the side last. (If you want to drizzle some cream on top, you can do that as well). Garnish with chopped cilantro.
7. Enjoy! And I'm sure you'll eat this so fast too!

*When you're buying shrimp, fresh is always best. But I know it's more convenient buying them frozen. No problem at all. Just make sure you by the lesser count so they're bigger. The count you see on the bags or boxes (20-30, 31-40, etc.) tells you how many shrimp pieces there are to a pound. So the small the number, the bigger the pieces. The yummier your bite to each succulent sweet piece of shrimp!

**For the brave you want to make their own Peri-Peri Sauce, here you go! Make sure you have a face mask or a bandana - cover your nose and mouth. It really does sting (or maybe I'm a drama queen).

  1/3 cup bird's eye chillies (about 20-25 pieces)
  1 onion, diced (white or red, your choice)
  4 tbsp garlic, minced (about 6 cloves)
  2 lemons, juice and zested
  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1/4 cup vinegar (you can also use red wine vinegar)
  1 tbsp salt
  1 tbsp paprika
  2 tbsp sugar (optional)

  1. Put everything in a blender or a food processor and blitz away. 
  2. Optional: you can stew this mixture for about 30 mins on low. If you want the oils to really come out. Otherwise, you can store in a mason jar and use as you please when cooking. 

#donyaluzee #food #recipe #periperi #shrimp #lime #rice #avocado #cilantro #tomatoes #salsa #salsafresca #chilli #paprika #redonion #jalapeno 


  1. Allow shrimp to practice social distancing! Too funny :)

    Looks delish, gonna have to try it.


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