Coated in a garlic-ginger sauce with spicy doubanjiang, this mouth-watering Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry (Ebi Chili) comes together quickly for a weeknight meal!
Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry or Ebi Chili (エビチリ / エビのチリソース) is a popular Japanese dish with Chinese origins.
These succulent shrimp glazed in a sweet and spicy sauce were derived from Szechuan-style Kan Shao Shrimp (乾焼蝦仁) but adapted to a less-spicy and sweet flavor suited for the Japanese taste.
What is Ebi Chili (Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry)?
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.
The original Chinese dish, Kan Shao Shrimp, uses spicy chili bean paste (Doubanjiang), but when this dish was introduced to Japan in the late 1950s, Japanese people were not used to spicy food so both ketchup and broth were incorporated into the dish to make it milder and adjusted for Japanese taste in Chinese restaurants.
Now Ebi Chili is one of the 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 Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry, 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 were stir-fried with doubanjiang filling up the kitchen meant dinner was almost ready and I knew what was on the menu. 🙂
As for my own family, we love shrimp recipes so I try to make quick shrimp recipes 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 the 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!
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 make Ebi Chili. You can skip ahead to 23:40 to see how they made their versions! Which one did you like better?
Similar Shrimp Recipes
Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry (Ebi Chili)
For the Shrimp Marinade
For the Chili Sauce
- 1 knob ginger (1 inch, 2.5 cm)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 green onion/scallion (use only the white part)
- 2 tsp doubanjiang (spicy chili bean paste) (you can buy a non-spicy version online)
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- ½ cup chicken stock/broth (or water)
- 1 Tbsp sake
- 1½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp potato starch or cornstarch
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Peel the shell, devein, and cut the backs of 10 shrimp so that it absorbs more flavors while marinating.
- Clean the shrimp with 1 Tbsp potato starch or cornstarch and rinse under cold running water.
- Pat dry the shrimp with paper towels and place them in a medium bowl. Add all the ingredients for marinade into the bowl: ¼ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt,⅛ tsp white pepper powder, 1 Tbsp sake, and 1 Tbsp potato starch or cornstarch. Mix well together.
- Cut the white part of 1 green onion/scallion into small pieces and keep it aside (use it later). Mince 1 knob ginger and 2 cloves garlic and put them together in a small bowl.
- Heat neutral oil on a large nonstick frying pan on medium high heat. When the pan is hot, cook the shrimp until both sides change color (the 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 more neutral oil over medium heat and sauté the minced ginger and garlic until fragrant. Lower the heat and add 2 tsp doubanjiang (spicy chili bean paste) and 2 Tbsp ketchup.
- Then, add ½ cup chicken stock/broth, 1 Tbsp sake, and 1½ tsp sugar to the pan.
- Continue cooking for a few minutes on simmer. Then, return the shrimp to the pan and add the white part of the scallion. Cook until the shrimp is cooked through, stirring occasionally.
- Add 1 tsp toasted sesame oil and pour a slurry of 1 Tbsp potato starch or cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water into the pan to thicken the sauce. Stir well and remove from the heat. Transfer the shrimp to a serving dish.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for a month.