Gambas al ajillo is one of the most popular tapas in Spain and it also is one of my favourites.  It's so simple and so fast - pan-fried prawns with garlic and chilli. 






Skill level

Average: 3 (24 votes)


  • 45 ml (2 tbsp + 1 tsp) olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 450 g (16 oz) raw prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined
  • 3 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1½ tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Manchego cheese, to serve
  • Spanish olives, to serve
  • Toasted or fresh bread, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Put olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic to the pan (see Note) and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, or until garlic is golden. Stir prawns into the pan and cook for 3 minutes.

2. Flip prawns. Season with chilli flakes and a pinch of salt. Toss prawns and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until prawns are firm and pinkish-red. Be careful not to overcook them. Add parsley and stir in. (See Note)

3. Transfer prawns and pan juices to a serving dish or platter. Season with salt. Serve hot with olives, Manchego cheese and bread on the side.



• In The Latin Kitchen, Tigreton explains that he likes to start with the oil at room temperature. “Because if you start with a pan hot and the oil hot, the garlic is going to burn.”

• Tigreton adds a splash of vinegar right at the end of the cooking, which changes up the flavor.