Seared Shrimp with Habanero Shrimp Sauce

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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1-1/2 pounds medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined (keep shells for sauce)
2 Tbsp. olive oil for searing shrimp
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

The Brine:

1/3 cup sea salt
1 cup water
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbsp. sugar

Habanero Sauce:

shrimp shells, 1- 15 oz. can chicken stock
2 habanero or Scotch bonnet chiles, seeded and minced
1/2 cup fresh mango, diced
2 large shallots
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. white pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt to taste

Mix brine ingredients in large bowl. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Add peeled shrimp and mix. If needed, place a small plate or saucer over shrimp to keep submerged. Refrigerate while preparing sauce, about 30-40 minutes.

In heavy 2 quart pot, place shrimp shells and chicken stock and bring to a low boil. Cook about 20 minutes and strain out shells. Return stock to pot on medium-high heat to reduce stock by about half.

Saute shallots and garlic in olive oil until lightly golden. Add to stock and cook another 5 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer, stir in habaneros and cream, simmer 5 minutes more, stirring continuously.

Add mango and stir. Cover pot and turn heat to warm.

Cook shrimp in 2 batches in order to sear it properly. Preheat 1 Tbsp oil over high heat in large nonstick skillet. Place shrimp evenly in one layer and sear about 1 minute. Turn with tongs. Shrimp should be slightly browned on each side and slightly translucent in the middle. Repeat for second batch.

Bring heat under sauce to low simmer, then stir in shrimp. Remove from heat and let stand about 5 minutes. Check flavor and adjust if needed.

Serve immediately over basmati rice and let it accompany a nice salad.

Yields 4 servings.
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