Everybody loves grilled shrimp. Shrimp cooks quickly and evenly and the searing heat of the live fire seems to bring out its natural sweetness. It's handsome size and shape are ideal for making kebabs, and shrimp readily absorbs the flavors of rubs and marinades.

Serves 4

You'll need:
8 two-pronged skewers or 16 slender bamboo skewers, soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover, then drained

32 jumbo or extra-large shrimp (about 1 1?2 pounds)
2 onions
1 large green bell pepper, plus 1?2 green bell pepper diced
1 large orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, plus 1?2 red pepper diced
6 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced (for hotter kebabs, leave the seeds in)
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon white pepper, or more to taste
1?3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil for basting (optional)
Lime wedges, for serving

  1. Rinse the shrimp under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Peel and devein the shrimp. Cut 1 onion into 8 pieces. Break each piece into individual layers. Cut the flesh of the whole bell peppers off the cores, and then cut it into 1-inch triangles. Thread the shrimp and the onion and bell pepper triangles onto the skewers. Arrange the kebabs in a nonreactive baking dish.

  2. Prepare the marinade: Cut the remaining onion in quarters. Finely chop the garlic, ginger, onion quarters, diced bell peppers, and jalapeño in a food processor. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, oil, salt, and white pepper. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary. Add the cilantro and pulse a few times just to mix. Don't process the marinade too much after the cilantro is added or it will turn green. Alternatively, purée the ingredients in a blender, again adding the cilantro at the end and blending just to mix. Pour the marinade over the kebabs and let marinate for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator, covered, turning the kebabs several times to ensure even marinating.

  3. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grate.

  4. Place the shrimp kebabs on the hot grate and grill until the shrimp is cooked (it will be firm and white), 2 to 3 minutes per side. Baste the shrimp with the butter, if using, during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

  5. Serve the shrimp at once with lime wedges. Unskewer the kebabs before eating, to avoid you or your guests burning your lips on the hot skewers.

Also good for:
This marinade is great for any type of kebab -- especially scallops, fish, even chicken. You can also marinate fish steaks and chicken breasts in the coconut milk mixture.

Click here
to find out more about the book this recipe came from, How To Grill, by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, May 2001).