Hawaiian garlic shrimp

A sister's trip to Hawaii inspired The Gourmand Mom to recreate Oahu's famous garlic shrimp.

The Gourmand Mom
Served on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, breaded shrimp cooked in garlic butter is easy, messy, and delicious.

Recently, my sister had the good fortune of taking a trip to Hawaii. As you might imagine, we’re all insanely jealous. During our conversations about the Hawaii trip, someone mentioned a food truck on the north shore of Oahu, which sells the most delectable garlic shrimp. It didn’t take too much cajoling to convince me to investigate further.

Now, in my dream world, I’d hop on the next available Hawaii-bound airplane, with my sights set on shrimp. I’d comb that island until I discovered the mysterious shrimp truck and then I’d force myself to eat as many orders of that shrimp as necessary until I’d discerned the magical recipe. And well, if I had to drink a few fruit-garnished, tropical beverages during my travels, I guess I’d do that, too. All in the name of commitment to a cause. But, considering I live in the real world, bound by time and financial constraints, I limited my research to the Internet.

Identifying the shrimp truck was easy. Giovanni’s Aloha Shrimp is served out of a white, graffiti-covered truck on the north shore of Oahu. They offer three options; Hot and Spicy, Lemon and Butter, or Shrimp Scampi. It’s the shrimp scampi recipe we’re after. So, I did a bit more searching around and actually found a video, which walks through a garlic shrimp recipe, based on the famous Hawaiian shrimp trucks.

After watching the video, I rescheduled my whole day around making these shrimp. I even dragged the kids out in the pouring rain to get down to the grocery store for fresh shrimp, which they enjoyed for the exciting opportunity to wear rain boots. The result was well worth it; tender shrimp oozing with garlicky flavor and dripping in butter sauce. In Hawaii, they serve a pile of 12 jumbo shrimp with a mound of sticky rice. I added a side of steamed broccoli to complete the meal.

For authentic Hawaiian style, use the biggest shrimp you can get your hands on. To serve it up shrimp-truck style, devein the shrimp, but leave the shells on. This makes for a messy meal, so be prepared with extra napkins. In the future, I’d probably remove the shells before cooking, so more of the garlic sauce ends up in my mouth rather than on my fingers.

Hawaiian-style shrimp scampi 

Serves 2

1 pound large shrimp, shell on, deveined

3/4 cup clarified butter*

1 head garlic, peeled and chopped

3/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 cup dry white wine [editor's note: substitute cooking wine or a fruit juice like white grape]

1-2 teaspoon sea salt

1 lemon, cut into slices or wedges

*Clarified Butter is recommended, since it has a higher smoke point than regular butter. This will help to prevent the butter and garlic from burning as it cooks. For my easy photo guide to clarifying butter, click here. Two sticks of butter will produce just the right amount of clarified butter for this recipe.

 1. Check that the shrimp have been deveined.

2. Combine the flour, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a dish.

3. Toss the shrimp in the flour mixture to coat. (There will be flour leftover.)

4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the clarified butter and garlic. Cook for a minute or two, then add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side, then turn the shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes on the other side.

5. Add the white wine or wine substitute and salt. Cook for a minute or two. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the shrimp. Serve with a side of white rice and a lemon wedge.

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