Ebi Chili (エビチリ / エビのチリソース) or Shrimp in Chili Sauce is a popular Japan dish with Chinese origins. These succulent shrimp glazed in a sweet and spicy sauce was derived from Szechuan-style Kan Shao Shrimp (乾焼蝦仁) but adapted to less-spicy and sweet flavor suited for the Japanese taste.
Ebi Chili was made popular in Japan by Chen Kenmin (陳建民) through his restaurant Shisen Hanten and his appearances on the national TV NHK’s cooking show – きょうの料理 (Today’s Cuisine). Does his name sound a bit familiar? That’s because he is also the father of the Iron Chef Chinese – Chen Kenichi.
Kan Shao Shrimp uses spicy chili bean paste (Doubanjiang), but when this dish was introduced to Japan in the late 1950’s, Japanese people were not used to spicy food so ketchup and soup (broth) were incorporated into the dish to make it more mild and adjusted for Japanese taste in Chinese restaurants. Now Ebi Chili is one of most popular Chinese dishes in Japan along with Mapo Tofu. Due to their popularity, both of these sauces are available pre-packaged in Asian supermarkets for those who do not want to make them from scratch.
Speaking of ebi chili, I remember my mom used to make this dish for us growing up in Japan. I recall the spicy and aromatic scent of garlic and ginger as they are being stir fry with doubanjan filling up the kitchen meant dinner is almost ready and I know what’s on the menu. 🙂
As for my own family, we loves shrimp recipes so I try to make quick shrimps recipe for weeknight meals. Because of this I always have a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer in case I don’t have time to stop by a grocery store. Shrimps defrost quickly and cook quickly! Once shrimp is defrosted and cleaned (and devein if you need to), this dish is done in less than 10 minutes! Serve with steamed rice and some healthy vegetables. Quick, delicious, and very satisfying! 🙂
Here’s the video to show you How To Make Ebi Chili. My mouth is watering just thinking about this dish, shrimps in sweet and spicy sauce over rice, yummy!
For the Iron Chef fans, here is the episode where Chef Chen Kenichi battles his mentor Takashi Saito (his father’s apprentice) and they both made ebi chili. You can skip ahead to 23:40 to see how they made their versions! Which one did you like better?
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- 10 (9 oz., 250 g) large shrimps
- 1 Tbsp. potato starch/corn starch for cleaning shrimp
- Vegetable oil for cooking, separated
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 dashes of white pepper
- 1 Tbsp. sake
- 1 Tbsp. potato starch/corn starch
- Peel the shell, devein, and cut the back of shrimps so that it absorbs more flavors being marinated.
- Clean shrimps with potato starch and rinse under cold running water.
- Pat dry the shrimps with paper towel and place them in a medium bowl. Add all the ingredients for marinade into the bowl rub well with shrimps.
- Cut white part of scallion into small pieces and keep it aside (use it later). Mince the ginger and garlic and put them together in a small bowl.
- Heat oil on a large non-stick frying pan on medium high heat. When the pan is hot, cook shrimps until both sides change color (inside doesn’t have to be cooked through at this point). Turn off the heat and transfer the shrimp to a plate. Quickly rinse the pan.
- In the same frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and sauté the scallion, ginger, and garlic until fragrant. Lower the heat and add the chili bean paste and ketchup.
- Then add chicken broth (water), sake, and sugar to the pan.
- Continue cooking for a few minutes on simmer. Then return the shrimp to the pan and add the scallion. Cook until shrimp is cooked through, stirring occasionally.
- Add the sesame oil and then pour the potato starch/water mixture to thicken the sauce. Stir well and remove from heat. Transfer the shrimp to a serving dish.