Tropical glazed shrimp, marinated in a tropical tamarind sauce, dark rum and lime, prepared in a cast iron skillet and served with a pineapple coconut dipping sauce. Terrific on its own or served on buttery baguette slices. These Spicy Caribbean Shrimp are the perfect appetizer!
No boring appetizers allowed beyond this point. Make way for these Spicy Caribbean Shrimp – they will be the hit of your next gathering.
Oh sure, I love those old standby chip dips, too, but when you can wow them, why wouldn’t you? These shrimp have a bit of a sweet, bit of a barbecue, and a bit of heat. Served with the pineapple coconut dipping sauce, you’ll feel like you’re in the islands, not in the frozen tundra, like I feel right now.
This post is sponsored by Spice Isle Sauces, but my opinions and my love of their delicious sauces and seasoning rubs is all my own.
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When the bitter cold sets in here in the Midwest, it makes me long for warmer, sunnier days. Sure it’s nice to have snow for Christmas, but after that? I am good ’til next year.
Give me the warm sand between my toes, the smell of saltwater in the breeze, and of course a tropical drink in my hand always works.
Well, if the islands aren’t in the cards, a girl can dream of them, and we can make it feel like the Islands right here at home.
Spice Isle Sauces – Lincoln, Nebraska
It may seem crazy that these amazing tropical sauces come from my home state of Nebraska, but trust me when I say that Steve and Heidi Nolan, the owners of Spice Isle Sauces, know what they are doing.
In fact, they have their very own restaurant in Turks and Caicos! When they started selling their tropical sauces there locally, they were so well received that they decided to sell them here in the states. They travel to trade shows all over the country introducing folks to their three sauce and seasoning rubs.
I have had the pleasure of developing recipes for all three sets of sauces and rubs over the last couple of months.
WHAT FLAVORS DO THE SPICE ISLE SAUCES AND SEASONING RUBS COME IN?
- Tropical Seasoning Rub & Tropical Tamarind Sauce
- Tropical Jerk Seasoning Rub & Tropical Jerk Sauce
- Tropical Heat Seasoning Rub & Tropical Heat Sauce
First, I made these Tropical Chicken Nachos and Tropical Salsa, using the Tropical Seasoning Rub and the Tropical Tamarind Sauce. Oh, my word!! The flavor it gave the chicken is out of this world! We are obsessed!!
Next, I made this Jamaican Jerk Glazed Chicken over Jamaican Sweet Coconut Rice. For this recipe, I used Spice Isle’s Tropical Jerk Seasoning Rub & Tropical Jerk Sauce. The only way you are going to get these authentic Jamaican jerk flavors anywhere else is in Jamaica!
Today’s Spicy Caribbean Shrimp Appetizer uses both the Tropical Heat Seasoning Rub and the Tropical Heat Sauce.
What is Tamarind Fruit?
Tamarind is a type of tropical fruit. It grows on hardwood trees, native to Africa, India, and Pakistan, but also grows in many other tropical regions.
The tree produces bean-like pods that are filled with seeds and wrapped in a fibrous pulp. The pulp of unripened fruit is green and sour. But as it ripens, the pulp becomes paste-like and yields a more sweet-sour flavor.
Tamarind is used in many dishes, in many cultures around the world, some say it even has medicinal properties. It’s also high in fiber, protein and many other vitamins and nutrients.
For this recipe, you are going to want to select large uncooked shrimp, or prawns as they are also called. You will devein them, and peel them but leave the tails on.
How to Clean & Devein Shrimp
Cleaning shrimp, which is known as “deveining” shrimp, has nothing to do with removing veins from a shrimp. I guess it is a polite way of saying that you are removing the intestines of the shrimp. Don’t worry, it isn’t that gross to deal with, and it is pretty easy to do.
Sure, you could buy some fancy shrimp cleaning tools to do it, but you really don’t have to go so far. You can use a knife or a pair of kitchen shears. I actually prefer the shears method. It allows you to remove both the shell and the intestine at the same time with minimal fuss.
Simply slide one end of the shear up the back of the shrimp, starting at the tail. You will be cutting just deep enough into the flesh to get to the “vein.” As you run the shear up the back, the vein comes right out, kind of like the scissor tip is a snowplow pushing out the muddy snow. Then simply finish with a cut through the shell and remove it.
The deeper you make that cut up the back, the more the cooked shrimp will “butterfly” out on the back. This also affects cooking time as well. Deeper cut, faster cooking time.
Give a quick rinse to all of them when you are done and you are all set! Clean shrimp ready to go.
For these spicy Caribbean shrimp, we used the Tropical Heat Sauce, mixed with lime juice and dark rum to make a marinade. The shrimp don’t sit in it long, but the flavor it gives is fantastic!
After they hang out in the marinade for a bit, we drain them and add them to a hot cast iron skillet, and give them a good dusting of the Tropical Heat Seasoning Rub before cooking them until they turn pink.
Give them a brushing of the Tropical Heat Sauce while they cook, and get that little bit of char and good caramelization to them before serving them up.
Most of us in my family can tolerate quite a bit of heat or spice. But I decided that it would be nice to have a “cool” tropical dip to serve them with, for those who can’t take the heat, as they say.
I pulsed some coconut flakes and pineapple in my mini food chopper. Then added it, plus some pineapple juice to some sour cream.
A simple pineapple coconut dip that will cool off those spicy shrimp, and give them even more tropical flair!
The shrimp are fantastic on their own, but I got to thinking about serving them on buttery toasted baguette slices, and let me just tell you, it was a brilliant idea!
I put a small dollop of the pineapple coconut dip on the bread and added a spicy Caribbean shrimp to the top. So good, and don’t they look pretty, too?
^Love it? PIN IT!^
You don’t want to forget where you saw this recipe, so make sure to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board before you go!
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Time to make your new favorite appetizer! Let’s get to the recipe for these Spicy Caribbean Shrimp!
For the Rum Jerk Shrimp
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left on
- 4 ounces dark Rum
- Juice of one large lime (save zest for dip)
- 3 Tablespoons Spice Isle Tropical Heat Sauce + more for brushing on later
- Generous sprinkling of Spice Isle Tropical Heat Seasoning Rub
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- fresh parsley for garnishing
Pineapple Coconut Dip
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup crushed pineapple + 1/2 Tablespoon pineapple juice
- 2 Tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 teaspoon lime zest, divided
- In a medium sized bowl, combine rum, lime juice, and Spice Isle Tropical Heat Sauce. Add peeled/deveined shrimp, tails still on to the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Prepare dip: Puree pineapple and coconut together, combine with sour cream and pineapple juice. (add more juice if you'd like it sweeter, but take care not to add too much so it doesn't get runny.) Stir in most of the lime zest, reserve just a bit to garnish if desired. Place in the refrigerator.
- Drain marinade from the shrimp. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet until hot.
- Place shrimp in the hot skillet, and sprinkle tops with Spice Isle Tropical Heat Seasoning. Cook for one minute, flip them over and brush on Tropical Heat Sauce, cook 2 minutes. Flip over and brush the sauce on the other side. Cook for about a minute more. Shrimp are done when they are pink. Don't overcook them or they will be rubbery.
- Serve with Pineapple Coconut Dip. Also delicious on toasted baguette slices, just remember to remove the tails!
Make a meal out of the shrimp - put them in tortillas for tacos, serve over a salad or enjoy them all on their own!
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Serving Size:5 shrimp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 412Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 256mgSodium: 1163mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 27g