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Andalusian Spicy Gambas al Pil Pil

Some dishes appear difficult to make, because they have ingredients you never used or because the name sounds odd to you and you believe a challenge lies ahead.

This is also the case with “gambas al pil pil” as it is unknown to most people. Yet, it’s an easy recipe and you’ll have a restaurant-quality dish ready in a matter of minutes.

Here I will tell you how to make the famous garlic prawns recipe, some changes you can make in the recipe, and tips for storing and serving. 

Andalusian Spicy Gambas al Pil Pil
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Background of the Dish

spanish recipe

This famous prawn recipe is estimated to have had its origins in Andalusia at least 200 years ago, although there are also different “sibling” recipes as they have the same “pil pil” sauce.

The word “pil pil” refers to the sound that the sauce makes while it is in the pot. Although some people point out that it is due to the spice of the recipe. 

In Spanish, this word begins with “Pi” (Picante, Pimiento, etc). Other similar recipes that may sound familiar to you are Bacalao pil pil (a cod dish) and seafood pil pil

There are many variants because it is a delicious dish that has few ingredients, which are also (or at least were) very cheap in the coastal region of southern Spain.

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Are you looking for an Andalusian Spicy Gambas al Pil Pil? We have for you the famous garlic prawns recipe or gambas pil pil as is known worldwide. This Spanish recipe originates from Andalusia and is a combination of a delicious and spicy Pil Pil garlic sauce and, of course, gambas (prawns). Normally served in Cazuela, a clay pot, this Spanish gambas al pil pil is done in under 30 minutes and will offer you an explosion of flavor! #gambasalpilpil #garlicprawns #spanishrecipe #garlicsauce
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Things You’ll Need for Gambas al Pil Pil

This gambas recipe generally stands out among other garlic prawns recipes, because it only calls for a few ingredients, and it doesn’t take too much time to make. 

You’ll just need some spices that you probably already have in your pantry, some olive oil, garlic, and of course, the star ingredient of this dish that is the gambas (prawns).

prawns recipe

Ingredients

  • 10 (500 g) peeled prawns
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

How to Make Gambas al Pil Pil – Step by Step Guide

spanish cuisine recipe
  1. To start with this gambas pil pil recipe, grab a pan and heat half of the olive oil over medium heat. In the meantime cut the garlic into thin slices.
  1. Once the temperature starts to rise, add sliced ​​garlic, black pepper, and paprika powder. Takedown the heat to low and cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic turns golden brown.
  1. Up next add the peeled and cleaned prawns, and seal them equally for 1 minute, so make sure to flip them halfway through.
  1. After a minute went by, add the rest of the oil, salt and cook over medium heat until they turn golden and toasted, and the sauce thickens. If the sauce isn’t thickening you can add 1 tablespoon of flour or cornstarch to thicken.
  1. To knock things off in this Spanish cuisine recipe you have to chop some parsley and add it to the shrimp. After doing this turn the stove off and move your shrimp around so it gets evenly coated. Serve your spicy gambas al pil pil warm.

Substitution of Ingredients

spanish dinner recipe

This recipe has few ingredients, which are also easy to find so it is very easy to make. However, there are some substitutions you can make to adapt the recipe to your tastes.

For example, my favorite change is to add 2 tablespoons of honey, or brown sugar, this makes the recipe take a bittersweet taste. 

Of course, they would no longer be the typical spicy gambas al pil pil, but if you like bittersweet food you should definitely try it.

Besides that you can make changes to the seasonings; add turmeric to give it another color, or other herbs like rosemary, bay leaf, or even oregano.

This is also a rather spicy gambas al pil pil, so it calls for paprika powder and black ground pepper, but you can change the amount or completely remove them if you don’t like spicy food. 

I recommend you to keep them because they give an amazing flavor to this dish.

If you liked this recipe, or want more ideas of Spanish dishes that you can make, I recommend that you try recipes such as the easy Spanish shrimp soup recipe or Spanish garlic shrimp.

As summer is already here you can also try our gazpacho with shrimp, and for an Andalusian breakfast try the traditional Spanish Migas recipe.

Tips on Serving Gambas al Pil Pil

gambas recipe

This dish is served throughout the year at all times of the day on the streets of Andalusia, so in spirit, this is an all-terrain recipe.

Therefore, you can serve it as a starter or as a main dish, both at dinner and at lunch.

For serving you can grab small bowls, or if you want it to look like an entirely authentic Spanish dinner recipe, grab a Cazuela (clay pot), and serve the Gambas al pil pil there.

As well as it happens with other garlic recipes, the garlic flavor might be a little bit too overpowering for some people. 

If this is your case, you can serve this dish with some sort of cream dipping sauce, or even with some chopped nuts on top, which will balance the flavor.

How to Store Gambas al Pil Pil

How to Store Gambas al Pil Pil

My favorite part of this Spanish recipe is that it’s easy to make and it doesn’t take too much time, so I generally don’t have to worry about storing them as I immediately devour them.

However, there are some saving tricks if you have a little leftover or want to do it ahead of time. You can store them without any problem in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Make sure to keep them in a tightly closed container so your refrigerator doesn’t fill with the smell of garlic.

Personally, I don’t recommend freezing them, as later the texture of the prawns will become hard or rubbery, and the sauce loses its characteristic fresh flavor.

Recipe Card: Andalusian Spicy Gambas al Pil Pil

Yield: 4

Spicy Gambas al Pil Pil

garlic prawns

Some dishes appear difficult to make, because they have ingredients you never used or because the name sounds odd to you.

This is also the case with “gambas al pil pil” as it is unknown to most people.

Yet, it’s an easy recipe and you’ll have a restaurant-quality dish ready in a matter of minutes.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 (500g) peeled prawns
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Grab a pan and heat half of the olive oil over medium heat. Cut the garlic into thin slices.
  2. Once the temperature starts to rise, add sliced ​​garlic, black pepper, and paprika powder. Lower the heat to low and cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic turns golden brown.
  3. Add the peeled and cleaned prawns, and cook as if to "seal" them, so make sure to flip them halfway through.
  4. After a minute add the rest of the oil, salt and cook over medium heat until they turn golden and toasted, and the sauce thickens.
  5. Chop some parsley and add it. Turn off the heat on the stove and stir a little so that all the prawns have the same flavor. Serve warm

Notes

I know that it might seem like a lot of garlic cloves, but that is one of the main flavors of this dish, almost as if you were having garlic prawns. 

But you can use less if you don't like the taste, or replace them with 3 tablespoons of garlic sauce.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 166Total Fat 3gCholesterol 378mgSodium 1290mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0.37gSugar 0.77gProtein 30g

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