VIDEO| Spanish Kitchen: Simple recipe for classic dish Ajillo

VIDEO| Spanish Kitchen: Simple recipe for classic dish Ajillo

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

Spanish cuisine didn’t make its way to Japan until recently, yet it’s quickly grown to be a favorite amongst many Japanese.

According to travel site LIVE JAPAN, Spanish dishes like paella, pincho, and ajillo became popular menu items at bars and izakayas here starting around the year 2000. These small dishes, known as tapas, are a favorite of those looking for a quick culinary getaway. And ajillo, or Gambas al Ajillo, is one of the most popular tapas to try.

Gambas al Ajillo consists of shrimp marinated in garlic. You’ll find instant noodles, potato chips and even an association dedicated to this delicious Spanish dish in Japan. Furthermore, this dish is easy to make and relatively inexpensive, so it is also becoming one many people now cook at home.

Ajillo pairs well with wine and beer and most recipes use items you might already have in the kitchen. To master this dish, you need olive oil, shrimp, some vegetables, and condiments. In about 20 minutes, you’ll have tapas to kick start an “Ouchi bal,” or “Spanish bar at home.”

As you sample different world cuisines, you may notice others have some version of ajillo. Hawaiian, Mexican and Portuguese all have their own garlic shrimp recipes to try. So, what better way than to start with the Spanish version here, then try others for a culinary vacation at home? Bon appetite!



Gambas al Ajillo

Peeled and deveined shrimp (80g)***

Mushroom (8 to 10 pieces)

Garlic (1 clove)

Red chili pepper (1 piece)**

Broccoli (30g)

Olive oil (150 ml)

Salt (a little)



1. Prep ingredients. Peel and devein shrimps, slice mushrooms if they are too big. Boil or steam broccoli and slice it. 

2. Add olive oil, slices of garlic, and red pepper in a pan or pot and heat over low flame.

3. Once the garlic become fragrant, add in mushrooms and shrimp. Cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Add in broccoli and salt and stir.

5. Serve and enjoy! Couple this dish with baguette slices for a great tapa dish.

*Recipe adapted from House Foods Corps.

**When I tried this recipe, I did not find the food spicy enough to my taste. If you love spicy food like I do, I recommend adding more red chili peppers or slicing them so the spice will permeate the olive oil.

***Use larger shrimp since they will shrink during cooking. For this recipe, I used frozen shrimp which were too small for my taste after cooking.

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