Healthy Island Shrimp Snack


Chef Surja Tjahaja showed Tra'Renee how to butterfly and marinade shrimp for a delicious snack! For more information about Chef Surja-here's his link.


by Chef Surja Tjahaja

This dish is inspired from Java, the Indonesian island where I was born. The exotic flavor comes from the kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), which is widely used in Javanese food and other Southeast Asian cuisines. Cooking with the peel on the shrimp keeps them especially moist, tender and flavorful. This Island Shrimp dish is simple to make and great for Super Bowl parties and romantic Valentine’s Day dinners.

Ingredients (for two servings)

• 1 lb tiger shrimp* (U8 to U10 = 8 to 10 units per pound); other large varieties may be used

• Marinade (see below)

• 1 T canola oil

• 1 tsp butter

*Note: Tiger shrimp are have a darker hue and the characteristic black lines across their body, hence the name tiger. They are more flavorful than the commonly available white shrimp, and they are also a bit more expensive. For this Island Shrimp dish it is best to use shrimp that are unshelled.

Cooking Process

Shrimp Parts

1. Use a scissor or paring knife and cut the shell of each shrimp across its top from head to tail without going through the flesh.

2. Next, lay each shrimp on its side on a cutting board for butterflying. To butterfly the shrimp, use a knife to make an incision into and across the whole back going toward the shrimp’s walking and swimming legs opposite the back (its abdomen). Caution: Do not cut all the way through the flesh. Leave the head and shell intact. Butterflying exposes the abdomen and the black threadlike vein that runs across the back of the shrimp from head to tail. The butterfly process helps the shrimp absorb more flavor and makes them easier to peel when eating.

3. Wash all shrimp to remove all debris, including the vein and any sandy-like substances, often dark green in color. Then place the shrimp in a colander to drain well.

4. Transfer marinade and shrimp into a plastic bag. Mix well and firmly seal. The shrimp should marinate at least three hours and preferably overnight.

5. Just before cooking, transfer the marinating shrimp to a colander to drain. No need to dry completely.

6. Prepare to stir fry by placing the canola oil in a frying pan over high heat. When the oil gets hot (about 20 seconds), add the butter. When the butter fizzles and is about to turn brown, add the shrimp with butterfly side down. Stir fry for about 40 seconds or until the shrimp is cooked with some black charring due to the carmelization of the kecap manis,

7. Remove shrimp from burner and serve piping hot with a drizzle of lemon. The shrimp may be eaten with hands or served with a knife and fork for those who are less adventurous. Garlic bread is always a great accompaniment.