Ginger Shrimp with Sweet-Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce

De Arbol (Capsicum Annuum) means tree like in Spanish. The plant has thick, upright, woody stems and the chile itself is narrow, curved and bright red in color. Believed to be closely related to the pequin, the De Arbol is thin fleshed, with tannic, smoky, grassy flavor and searing heat. This chile has a heat range of 7.5 on the heat scale of 1-10. De Arbol Chiles are comparable to a Cayenne Pepper. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 30,000.

Suggested Use:
De Arbol is a hot chile and a staple in Southwest kitchens. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish. Be adventurous and add them to your next stew or chili along with the other spices. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish.

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1/2 cup thinly sliced ginger (2-1/2 oz. ), lightly crushed with the side of a knife blade
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
6 dried red chiles de arbol, broken into several pieces
2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 cups small ice cubes
1/2 cup sweet Thai chile sauce
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1-1/2 tsp. Asian fish sauce
celery sticks and cucumber spears, for serving


1. In a small saucepan, combine the ginger with the vinegar, sugar and chiles. Bring the pan to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Transfer the liquid to a large bowl and let cool.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, simmer the shrimp until pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain the shrimp and add them to the ginger mixture. Stir in the ice cubes and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain the shrimp and pat them dry, discarding the ginger and chiles.

In a small bowl, mix the Thai chile sauce with the lime juice, ketchup and fish sauce. Refrigerate until chilled, then arrange the shrimp on a platter with the celery sticks and cucumber spears and serve with the sauce.

Yields 10 servings.

Recipe by Grace Parisi, “Food & Wine Magazine” November 2001.