I’m always on a search for the easiest weeknight dinners – and I think I’ve found the one I’ll be making on repeat for… forever. Ready in just 15 minutes these garlic shrimp noodles are coated in a sweet and spicy chili sauce that was inspired by my trip to Indonesia.
Making the BEST Garlic Chili Shrimp
The key is in the ingredients.
- shrimp – fresh (not frozen), peeled shrimp cook quickly and contain tons of protein
- olive oil – helps not only with sauting the shrimp, but also is the base for the sauce as well
- lemon juice – for some added twang
- garlic cloves – sliced thin, garlic adds tons of flavor and fragrance to the dish
- green onion – for color and flavor + extra for topping!
- Korean chili flakes – different from regular red pepper flakes, Korean chili flakes have a fruity flavor and are used in dishes like kimchi
- coconut palm sugar – made from palm sap, it has deep caramel flavor
- sweet soy sauce – also known as kecap manis, it is a thicker, sweeter soy sauce
- dark soy sauce – you can also sub in tamari or liquid coconut aminos for soy sauce in this recipe
- egg noodles – these bad boys soak up tons of flavor and have their own savory notes they bring to the dish (reserve a cup of pasta water for the sauce!)
An Southeast Asian Inspiration
These noodles use flavors like sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) and Korean chili flakes as ingredients I found while we honeymooned in Indonesia. While these ingredients can be easily found in many Asian markets, I made sure that you can also find them in regular grocery stores too!
And if your store doesn’t have what you need, don’t forget Amazon is a great resource for otherwise hard-to-find ingredients.
Kecap manis is also known as sweet soy sauce – it is thick and sticky and has an almost molasses-like consistency and flavor. I also used coconut palm sugar in this recipe, another common Southeast Asian ingredient, which has a deep caramel-earthy flavor that really plays well with the sweet flavors of the kecap manis. For something being called “sugar,” coconut palm sugar plays on the line between bitter and sweet.
Korean chili flakes were also a new discovery. Unlike red pepper flakes, Korean chili flakes are not overly spicy and actually border on being a fruity-sweet flavor. Similar to a sweet red bell pepper in flavor, while having a deeper ancho-like quality in depth and spice.
The egg noodles boil on the side while the shrimp and other ingredients come together. Right before draining the noodles, don’t forget to reserve a cup of the pasta water to help add some starches to the sauce in the pan. This will help the sauce adhere to the noodles for an even more cohesive dish.
Garlic Shrimp Noodles
- 16 oz shrimp peeled and tails removed (thawed if frozen)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 5-6 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2-3 green onions chopped to whites
- 2 tablespoons Korean chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) can sub soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce can sub tamari or coconut aminos
- 4 servings cooked egg noodles
- 1 cup pasta water
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling bubble. Cook the egg noodles according to the instructions on the packaging. Reserve one cup pasta water.
- In a separate skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil and heat until it moves in the pan freely. Add the shrimp and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the Korean chile flakes, palm sugar, sweet soy sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice and green onion. Stir until the sauce coats the shrimp and the shrimp are mostly cooked through, another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cooked egg noodles to the pot along with the cup of reserved pasta water. Stir until the sauce coat the noodles and shrimp. Simmer while stirring for another 5-6 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Serve topped with additional green onion for garnish. Enjoy!