Shrimp chili sauce made with ginger, tobanjan and ketchup

Sweet and tangy, this is a Japanese dish based on a Chinese classic.

Shrimp Chili Sauce (or ebi chili)

This shrimp chili sauce dish reminds me of Chinese take out I order from my favorite restaurant. And it tastes just as good!

Shrimp chili sauce is a very popular dish served all over Japan (in Chinese restaurants) and is very easy to make. This quick and simple shrimp recipe (try this shrimp stir fry for another quick recipe) is  kid friendly because of its sweet and colorful sauce – a great way to introduce kids to seafood!  The main ingredient of the sauce is ketchup, which believe it or not, makes it very Japanese! Japanese people love ketchup so much they have a best selling spaghetti Naporitan that’s mostly made with.. ketchup! For this sauce, the ketchup is diluted with stock, Korean chili paste and a few more ingredients to give it more depth and savoriness.

The result is delish!

For those of you who are afraid to overcook shrimp, fear not! How to cook shrimp perfectly is  easily achieved when using a timer. It’s one of those essential kitchen accessories to have like a good kitchen knife or a hand blender. Or you can just use the timer on your oven or microwave. I use a timer for almost all the cooking I do, it’s extremely helpful and convenient – it’s especially good to have if you’re looking to achieve the perfect doneness of a steak or fish, when blanching vegetables, or to remind yourself of a roast that needs to cook for hours.

I like to soak my shrimp in baking soda for a few minutes to get rid of the slippery feel and firm them up. It’s a trick I learned while watching chef Toshi at Bamboo Izakaya in Santa Monica. It works like a charm and does noticeably improve the texture of the shrimp.


Shrimp in chili sauce – Ebi chili

Who knew that a ketchup based chili sauce would pair so well with shrimp and become such a popular Japanese dish.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Japanese, Chinese, Seafood


  • 1215 large shrimp (deveined and shelled)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (peeled finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon tobanjan (Korean chili paste)
  • 1/4 cup scallions (chopped)

For the chili sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 cup light chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon potato starch mixed with 3 tablespoons water


  1. Soak the shrimp in water (about 2 cups) mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda for 15 minutes. This will firm up the texture of the shrimp. Rinse and set aside.
  2. Mix the ingredients for the chili sauce – except for the potato starch and water mix – in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large pan over high heat, add oil, garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes. Add tobanjan, stir well and add shrimp, and chopped scallions. Cook for 2 minutes and add the chili sauce mixture. Stir well and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through.
  4. Lastly, add the potato starch mixture and stir well. Turn the heat off and serve with rice.


  • Calories: 269
  • Saturated Fat: 1
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