Gambas/Shrimps in Garlic Butter

I like the word ‘rustic’. Usually food bloggers like myself hide behind this word when we plate something without the frills and post it on our blog. Somebody from the Food Network said rustic means it doesn’t have to look pretty. I have to agree. Relative to some bloggers out there who have been given plates made by God, let’s just say I’m still getting there.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you must have surmised that I take my food seriously. And as much as I love eating, I also equally enjoy the process of making food look good in photos. Sometimes I might produce something……well not really ugly, but I doubt that what I’ve made would whet appetites. Have I come a long way? Hell yeah. But there’s still a long way to go. I’m learning and I’m drowning in inspiration.

As a newbie, I enjoy the magic moments when everything just falls into place perfectly. The moment where you don’t have to force anything out of the food to make it look artificially good. It just does.

Who can say anything bad about shrimps, garlic and butter together? That’s a magic moment right there. This dish goes by a lot of names. Here in the Philippines we call it gambas. You can call it garlic shrimps. We can call it delicious anytime. It’s rustic because it’s simple. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. I never should be.

I also made this for my Mama Eng. She’s my aunt who’s been with the family since before I was born. She survived taking care of three incredibly demanding baby boys, one of which is now 20 years old. It was her birthday yesterday and we thank God for the day she came into our lives. Hypertension and diabetes prohibits her from indulging, but for gambas, I think she made an exception.

For good measure, I sliced a pan de sal, brushed it with the gambas oil and toasted it. Rice? You don’t need it. When you serve gambas with toasted bread and allow the bread to absorb some of the fragrant and equally toasty sweet oil, it’s heaven. Heaven.

It was also the perfect time to practice my Masterchef (haha) skills. Jennifer, season 2 winner, said that shrimp heads can really add flavor to a dish. 

Gambas/Shrimps in Garlic Butter

  • 1 kg large shrimp
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 – ¼ cup salted butter (one block is 1 cup; half of it lengthwise is ½ cup – I used ¼ cup but adjust to your liking)
  • 1 tbsp gin (optional)
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 eight inch lemongrass stalk (optional)
  • A dash of thyme, paprika, chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Reserved shrimp heads (around 4)
  • 1 pan de sal (or your preferred bread)
  1. Peel and devein the shrimp.
  2. In large pan enough to hold the shrimps over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. Heat until butter melts and is foamy.
  3. Add the onions, garlic and lemongrass. Fry until fragrant.
  4. Add the shrimp heads, gin, thyme, paprika and chilli flakes. Season with salt, pepper.
  5. Add the shrimps and cook until it becomes pink. Remove from heat.
  6. Slice a pan de sal in half. Brush it with the garlic oil and toast until slightly brown. Do not allow to burn.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy!

I received an email a few days ago from Kristina, an editor from Be @ Home, part of‘s blogging network. She told me that they wanted to give my blog an “Editor’s Choice” award! I was floored! You can see the badge on the sidebar, below my other foodista recognition. 🙂 


7 thoughts on “Gambas/Shrimps in Garlic Butter

  1. Lovely recipe. I tweaked by adding a slosh of red wine, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and a dash of lemon juice. Tasted great with some crusty bread and some sea salt roasted potatoes 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Are you kidding me, Gio? Your photos are awesome! Naku, sa blog ko, bihira ang magandang plating kasi nakasimangot na ang darling ko dahil gutom na daw siya pero pipicturan ko pa ang food! Hahaha.

    Congrats on your award!!!

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