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Gambas Pil Pil (Prawns Pil Pil) Recipe Gambas al Ajillo a sizzling prawn dish from Spain
recipe prawns pil pil

There are a few variations of Gambas Pil Pil but the basic concept is the same. Traditionally Gambas al Ajillo and other tapas are served in earthenware ramekins or cazuelas de barro in Spanish. While any frying pan or saucepan will do, ramekins add to the autenticity of the prawns pil pil.

A plate of Gambas Pil Pil

The advantage of cooking in ramekins is you serve the dish in the ramekin immediately from the cooker, which allows the prawns to continue cooking in the oil even after they’ve been served. The ramekins are useful if you’re preparing four or five tapas all at once.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Servings: 2


20 peeled prawns (gambas) (if you cannot get fresh prawns or do not like cooking with them then you can use pre-cooked prawns but adjust the cooking time so as to warm through thoroughly as opposed to cooking them)

3 tablespoons of olive oil aceite de oliva
3 cloves of garlic, chopped ajo 1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
2 chilli peppers, dried guindillas or 2 teaspoons chilli powder
pinch of cayenne or red pepper pimentón picante
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper


Put olive oil, garlic cloves, chili peppers, and cayenne pepper in an earthenware ramekin. Heat the ramekin at medium heat or until the oil begins to sizzle. Meanwhile peel and wash the prawns. Dry them off with a paper towel and add them to the ramekin. Cook the prawns for about six minutes, 3 minutes on either side, or until they begin to turn pink and curl slightly. sprinkle with the parsley and serve at once. As with every other tapas dish, Gambas al Ajillo is traditionally served with a bowl of bread.

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