All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Ebi to ika no diabura-fu / camarones y calamar a la diabla / prawns and calamari in spicy chili pepper sauce

Prawns and calamari in spicy, smoky chili pepper sauce with a hint of chocolate flavor. While chipotle in adobo sauce can pretty much take care of the flavor, let's try different dried chili peppers to find your favorite spiciness and taste. This diabla sauce tastes young and edgy immediately after it is prepared, but it becomes amazingly deep and aromatic if you let it sit for hours, ideally overnight. Great with rice and tortillas.


(Serves 3-4)
10-12 prawns (10 prawns, 140 g in photo)
4 calamari (86g in photo)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter

For diabla sauce
1 tomatillo (62 g in photo)
4-5 cherry tomatoes or 1 small roma tomato (4 cherry tomatoes, 32 g in photo)
3 New Mexico peppers
1 chipotle pepper
1 morita pepper
1 clove garlic
1/2 medium onion (saute and simmer a portion with rest of sauce ingredients; use remainder to finish up the dish)
1 bay leaf
A few black peppercorns
Several coriander seeds
Generous pinch oregano
1 tsp olive oil
400-500 cc water


Cut onion into small and large sections, and thinly slice the large section.
Peel garlic.


In a medium pot, heat 1 tsp olive oil.

Put all dried chili peppers, tomatillo, the small section of onion and garlic, and toast on medium to medium low heat.
Flip as necessary to keep ingredients from burning.
When dried chili peppers become softer and tomatillo, onion and garlic slightly brown, add cherry tomatoes, black peppercorns, coriander seeds and oregano, and continue toasting.

When cherry tomatoes are cooked (skin tears or fruit becomes soft), add water and bay leaf, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until all chili peppers are soft.

(After 30 minutes)


Meanwhile, shell prawns, clean with potato starch, and rinse (save shells).
Clean calamari, and cut into rings.
Keep refrigerated.


When all ingredients for sauce are tender, remove and discard stem/top of chili peppers, place in food processor with rest of ingredients, and puree.


In the meantime, heat 2 tsp olive oil in another medium pot, and saute prawns shells on medium heat.

When shells turn pink, discard.


In the same pot, melt butter, add prawns and calamari, and saute.

Remove as they turn opaque instead of waiting for all pieces to be done.


In the same pot, add onion slices, and saute until translucent.


Reduce heat or remove from stove, place a strainer over pot, and strain sauce.

Press pulp with spatula to get most of sauce.
Discard pulp. 
Simmer and reduce sauce on medium low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the pot bottom appears when you go over it with a spatula.

If time allows, cool completely (and let sit for some time) at this point.


Put prawns and calamari, mix, and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Taste, and add salt as necessary.


Serve hot. (Served with relatively plain, mild arroz a la Mexicana in photo.)

  • The above is an adaptation of "Camarones a la Diabla Deliciosa Receta" by Chef Rogelio Lara. I especially liked his use of tomatillos instead of tomatoes as well as the combination of dried chili peppers. He uses guajillo, chipotle and morita peppers.
  • If chipotle (brownish gray) and morita (dark red brown) peppers -- both are smoked, dried jalapeno peppers -- are not available, you can use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce or the adobo sauce alone. One chipotle pepper in adobo sauce results in a similar spiciness as the above recipe. Adjust the chipotle amount according to your taste.
  • Sauce ingredients can be dry sauteed (without oil), which results in a lighter taste at the end.
  • If the sauce turns out to be too spicy for you, add some coconut milk to counter the heat. It transforms this dish into something southern Asian, and it tastes great!

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