The best part about this recipe from the July 2012 issue of Bon Appetit is the fantastic cilantro-chile-ginger-lime sauce. It is fresh and fiery and was delicious on the shrimp. It was so delicious that I served the leftover sauce the next day over grilled Mediterranean sea bass and the day after that with grilled steak fajitas! If you make the shrimp, you might want to cut back on the amount of fish sauce in the marinade, as I found it to be very salty.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients to check are the fish sauce and turmeric. Look for fish sauce that lists only anchovies, water and perhaps alcohol as ingredients – many brands include MSG. Make sure the turmeric does not contain colour. Also, be sure to use fresh lime juice, as concentrates tend to contain preservatives such as sodium benzoate.

I pureed the other sauce ingredients before adding the cilantro

The sauce is terrific with seafood, fish and grilled steak

The shrimp is marinated in fish sauce, oil and turmeric

Grill the marinated shrimp until just cooked through

Grilled shrimp with chile, cilantro and lime sauce


16 jumbo shrimp, unpeeled, preferably head-on

6 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nuoc nam or nam pla), divided

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more for grill

2 teaspoons turmeric

30 cilantro sprigs, chopped

10 long red chiles (such as Holland or Anaheim), stemmed

8 garlic cloves

2 1″ pieces ginger, peeled

¼ cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons palm sugar or (packed) light brown sugar


Combine shrimp, 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, 2 Tbsp. oil, and turmeric in a large bowl; toss to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Purée 4 Tbsp. fish sauce, 2 Tbsp. oil, cilantro, and remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor until a coarse mixture forms; transfer dipping sauce to a small bowl and set aside.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Oil grill grates. Shake excess liquid from shrimp and place shrimp on grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until shrimp are charred and cooked through, 5-6 minutes.

Serve immediately with sauce. Serves 4.

From the July 2012 issue of Bon Appetit