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5 from 1 vote

Shrimp Diablo

The idea for this dish came from a few places.
My family started visiting Mexico before I even have memories of our trips. I was born in Southern California, in the United States. My parents would drive their van across the border and enjoy the Mexican culture and food of the mid-70's. As I grew, they simply never stopped! When I was about 6 years old, we moved away from Southern California, to a town just outside of Yosemite National Park. Shortly thereafter, we would fly to Mexico, at least once a year. After having lived there for almost 10 years, I'm actually close to being an actual Mexican citizen! My family has a great love for Mexico.

There is a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta called "Posada Rio Cuale". This was my favorite restaurant on earth in my teenage years. Aside from all the table service they provided, doing fancy things like cutting a spiral in the rind of an orange, hanging it down, pouring booze on it and igniting it, making a flaming, swirling waterfall (fiery boozefall?). Always a good show!

My father would always order the "Shrimp Diablo". Diablo, meaning "Devil" in Spanish ... implies the dish was hot. Fierce. Painful. Dare I say ... evil?

If memory serves (it doesn't always), customers had the option to choose their level of heat. On a scale of 1 to 5, my father always ordered the 9. Then, he would sit in the hot Mexican weather, dripping with sweat and revel in his pure delicious pain. His face would turn bright red and he'd just look miserable! He had to breath in and out, in rapid succession, or else ... I assume he'd spontaneously combust! There was always a deep fire raging within him, as he'd delight in his big bowl of Shrimp Diablo.

Between you and I, faithful readers ... I've never quite understood the joy that the chili pain can bring. I like a little kick, but I don't want to suffer while I eat. Not my father, though. He likes it HOT!

How do you like it?

Scoville Note: If you throw a habanero, scotch bonnet or ghost chili into the blender ... on a scale of 1 to 5, you will take this to a 9. As written, it's about a 4.5.

Serving Note: Often served over rice or with pasta, I suggest a side of miracle cauli-rice or zoodles!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 308.795kcal
Author: DJ Foodie


  • 2 each assorted dried chilies (guajillo ancho, new mexico, etc.)
  • 2 each chile de arbol
  • 1 1/2 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 each garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp cumin seed ground
  • 1 7-oz can chipotles in adobo
  • 2 tbsp light oil (coconut oil ghee, olive ... or even bacon fat!)
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


  • Split the dried chilies by either tearing the tops off, or using kitchen scissors to cut them open. Remove the seeds from the peppers and discard (feel free to leave a few, if you like a super spicy shrimp).
  • You can do this in a hot pan, but I usually toast the chilies directly on a hot burner element, or over a hot burner flame. Over a medium-low temperature, toast the surface of the chilies by placing them in the flame, or directly on the burner surface. This will cause a quick blistering. Do not burn the chilies. Simply toast the surface for about 15 seconds, in a few spots around the chilies. This makes for a richer and more developed flavor.
  • Fill a bowl or measuring cup with about 4 cups of boiling water. Place your toasted chilies in the hot water, so they may soften. Leave them there for about 20 minutes, while you work on the rest of the dish.
  • Toss your shrimp with the cumin, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • After 20 minutes, remove your chilies from the water and place in a blender. Save some of the chili water. You may need it. Add your chipotles to the blender and blend until smooth. Add some of your chili water to thin it out. You want something resembling a slightly runny BBQ sauce.
  • Pre-heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add your oil and swirl it around the pan. Quickly and before the oil burns, add your shrimp to the pan. Evenly distribute them around the pan, so that they are all touching the bottom of the pan. Let them sit for about 1 minute. Turn the all over, to cook the other side.
  • After sautéing for about 2 minutes, add your chili sauce, from the blender. This will likely sputter a bit. That's fine. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the shrimp in the sauce for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Taste, adjust seasoning and serve!


Serving: 4g | Calories: 308.795kcal | Carbohydrates: 17.2525g | Protein: 37.5675g | Fat: 10.765g | Fiber: 7.6775g