Asian Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail with Asian Cocktail Sauce

The origin of Shimp Cocktail is a bit unclear. Some say it’s so named for the cocktail of condiments in the sauce, others say it’s because they are traditionally served in cocktail glasses–a clever repurposing of unused stemware during Prohibition. Whatever the case, Shrimp Cocktail is a quintessential retro American dish that’s undergone little innovation over the past century.

At its best, Shrimp Cocktail is a titillating appetizer with plump juicy shrimp doused with lemon juice and dipped in a sweet spicy sauce that goes down kicking courtesy of the horseradish. Unfortunately, frozen precooked shrimp and jarred sauce make many experiences akin to dipping a spongy hockey stick into a vat of red corn syrup.

Poached Prawn Cocktail with Spicy Asian Cocktail Sauce

I’ve updated the classic with Asian flavours, replacing the ketchup with a mixture of fresh tomatoes and tomato sauce, the Tabasco with Thai sweet chili sauce, and the horseradish with wasabi. To get the shrimp to fulfill their destiny, I gently poached them in a ginger, lime and cilantro broth which keeps them moist and tender.

It’s not hard to do, and I think there are a lot of other interesting flavour combinations that could be employed here… plum with Sichuan peppercorns…. roasted red pepper with pimenton… Just make sure you use the best quality shrimp you can get, they are the centerpiece of the dish after all.

Asian Shrimp Cocktail

for shrimp
1 lbs extra large shrimp with shells
4 C water
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 whole cilantro plant (leaves, stems and root)
1″ knob of ginger sliced thin
1 Serrano chili
lime peel
1/2 C sake

for cocktail sauce
1 small tomato cut into 1/4″ cubes
1/2 C stewed tomato puree (tomato sauce in the US)
2 Tbs Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp wasabi

Remove the shells from the shrimp being careful to leave the tail intact. Devein the shrimp by cutting a slit all the way down the back side (opposite where the legs were), and removing any brown stuff. Put the shells in a large saucepan along with the water, sugar, salt, cilantro, ginger, chili and lime peel. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes then strain the the stock.

Add the strained stock back into the pan along with the sake and boil for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol in the sake. Add the shrimp to the hot stock, cover, then turn off the heat. depending on how large the shrimp are, they will need to poach anywhere from 8-10 minutes.

When the shrimp are cooked, plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and refrigerate until you are ready to serve (up to one day).

For the cocktail sauce, put all the tomato, tomato puree, Thai Chili sauce, and fish sauce in a nonreactive pan and simmer over low heat until the tomatoes have mostly disolved into the sauce (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and all the cocktail sauce to come to room temperature. Add the lime juice and wasabi and stir well to make sure there are no clumps of wasabi. Chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

To serve, put a small bowl in the middle of a large plate, add the cocktail sauce to the bowl and lay the shrimp around the bowl.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    LOVE the Asian twist you gave to this very 70’s classic Marc!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    LOVE the Asian twist you gave to this very 70’s classic Marc!

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    Nice reinterpretation, Marc! You’ve definitely elevated this about 50 stories above the hockey stick/corn syrup combination. :)

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    Nice reinterpretation, Marc! You’ve definitely elevated this about 50 stories above the hockey stick/corn syrup combination. :)

  • http://zested.wordpress.com/ liz {zested}

    Another great photo. Love the light and colors. Nicely done.

  • http://zested.wordpress.com liz {zested}

    Another great photo. Love the light and colors. Nicely done.

  • http://www.honeyfromrock.blogspot.com/ Claudia

    Good job on re-interpreting this old standard. It definitely needed doing. Now I want to try it myself.

  • http://www.honeyfromrock.blogspot.com Claudia

    Good job on re-interpreting this old standard. It definitely needed doing. Now I want to try it myself.

  • http://maclarty.blogspot.com/ Koek!

    You won’t believe this, but I bought some fresh shrimp (prawns in SA) from my deli this morning – and this is the dish I’m going to make! Muchas gracias

  • http://maclarty.blogspot.com/ Koek!

    You won’t believe this, but I bought some fresh shrimp (prawns in SA) from my deli this morning – and this is the dish I’m going to make! Muchas gracias

  • http://www.MyOwnSweetThyme.com/ Lisa

    Yum! Nice photo. I really like that you replaced the ketchup with something closer to natural and the Asian flavors sound fantastic. Fresh and spicy. A great summer recipe.

  • http://www.MyOwnSweetThyme.com Lisa

    Yum! Nice photo. I really like that you replaced the ketchup with something closer to natural and the Asian flavors sound fantastic. Fresh and spicy. A great summer recipe.

  • http://pithyandcleaver.com/ maggie

    These sound lovely! Thanks for pointing me toward this recipe…

  • http://pithyandcleaver.com maggie

    These sound lovely! Thanks for pointing me toward this recipe…

  • http://savorysweetlife.com/ alice

    This recipe is being saved for my next Asian meal get together. Thanks so much!

  • http://savorysweetlife.com alice

    This recipe is being saved for my next Asian meal get together. Thanks so much!

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    Yum! You should serve this at your restaurant when you find the perfect place. ;)

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    Yum! You should serve this at your restaurant when you find the perfect place. ;)

  • http://duodishes.com/ The Duo Dishes

    The cocktail sauce needs to be bottled. Sounds perfect.

  • http://duodishes.com The Duo Dishes

    The cocktail sauce needs to be bottled. Sounds perfect.

  • http://foodmayhem.com/ Jessica@FoodMayhem

    I’m in love with your sauce and I haven’t even tried it yet. I just know it’s going to better than the sticky sweet stuff with old horseradish.

  • http://foodmayhem.com Jessica@FoodMayhem

    I’m in love with your sauce and I haven’t even tried it yet. I just know it’s going to better than the sticky sweet stuff with old horseradish.

  • http://www.delightfullysweet.wordpress.com/ Danielle

    Amazing photography!

  • http://www.delightfullysweet.wordpress.com Danielle

    Amazing photography!

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    I love that a whole coriander plant goes into the stock (sorry, doesn’t feel right to call it cilantro) Sounds like a vast improvement on a much maligned classic!

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    I love that a whole coriander plant goes into the stock (sorry, doesn’t feel right to call it cilantro) Sounds like a vast improvement on a much maligned classic!

  • http://whatilikenyc.blogspot.com/ Laura [What I Like]

    Oh what a wonderful idea! You could do a sauce themed on every cuisine…Mexican? Moroccan? But in this hot weather I agree Asian is absolutely the way to go.

  • http://whatilikenyc.blogspot.com Laura [What I Like]

    Oh what a wonderful idea! You could do a sauce themed on every cuisine…Mexican? Moroccan? But in this hot weather I agree Asian is absolutely the way to go.

  • http://www.bigboldbeautifulfood.blogspot.com/ Ninette

    Hey Marc. Looks great. I was trying to figure out how to get the shrimp firm like it is in the steakhouses, and the secret is apparently brining. We made them the other night, brining them for 30 minutes first before poaching, and they were awesome.

  • http://www.bigboldbeautifulfood.blogspot.com Ninette

    Hey Marc. Looks great. I was trying to figure out how to get the shrimp firm like it is in the steakhouses, and the secret is apparently brining. We made them the other night, brining them for 30 minutes first before poaching, and they were awesome.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Yeah, those shrimp cocktails with the sad shrimp really disappointed me– not hockey sticks but like eating chewy ice :P These look much more appetizing- very chic. And please tell me that’s not your (manicure)! Ha ha ha :)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Yeah, those shrimp cocktails with the sad shrimp really disappointed me– not hockey sticks but like eating chewy ice :P These look much more appetizing- very chic. And please tell me that’s not your (manicure)! Ha ha ha :)

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    this is definitely the winner. there are some places out there butchering the prawn cocktails. i had one at a restaurant in Windsor which was shocking. the prawns were horribly rubbery and the sauce just awful. and it didn’t even look pretty. x

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    this is definitely the winner. there are some places out there butchering the prawn cocktails. i had one at a restaurant in Windsor which was shocking. the prawns were horribly rubbery and the sauce just awful. and it didn’t even look pretty. x

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  • http://www.thefoodaddicts.com/ Krissy @ The Food Addicts

    I’ve been making a lot of cocktail sauce lately for some parties, and instead of horseradish, I’ve also been using wasabi. It gives it a nice kick! I adore your knack for good photography.

  • http://www.thefoodaddicts.com Krissy @ The Food Addicts

    I’ve been making a lot of cocktail sauce lately for some parties, and instead of horseradish, I’ve also been using wasabi. It gives it a nice kick! I adore your knack for good photography.

  • http://homechineserecipes.com/seafood/ Chinese Seafood Recipes

    Wow, the cooking way of this dish is great, I’ll try it later and I hope it tastes delicious. Just one suggestion: If you add some cooking pictures it will be easier to follow!

  • http://homechineserecipes.com/seafood/ Chinese Seafood Recipes

    Wow, the cooking way of this dish is great, I’ll try it later and I hope it tastes delicious. Just one suggestion: If you add some cooking pictures it will be easier to follow!

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  • Moana

    Me and my family loves seafoods esp. prawns. However I can not figure out a good sauce to go with it to worth the price. Tested it, ummmmmm so yum. Thanks a lot

  • Moana

    I try my best to learn how to cook and used to watch a lot of cooking programs on TV I used to see them using red/white wine. What is the purpose of using wine?.

    • Anonymous

      Wine in food serves a couple purposes 1) It adds flavor, depending on the
      wine you use it can add tartness, sweetness, bitterness, and the flavors of
      the wine to the dish 2) Many braised dishes call for wine because it adds
      liquid to the dish without adding water 3) Acidic wines help tenderize meat
      4) The alcohol in the wine will burn off as it’s heated, but before it burns
      off, it helps release flavors in the other ingredients in what you’re
      cooking.

  • http://www.largepot.net/information-news/kitchen-products-cooking-pots/ extra large cooking pots

    Please give me more information. I love it, Thanks again.

  • giselle

    very nice coctail,, i lke to taste it…..

  • http://www.decarshop.com Equipoise

    Prawns are my favorite, thanks for a great recipe.

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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