Yep, Another Recipe Post (Chili Lime Shrimp with Mango Avocado Salsa)

Chili Lime Shrimp with Mango Avocado Salsa and lime cilantro riceI was shocked at how much you all liked the last recipe post. Since this blog is about my life and right now my life involves a lot of healthy cooking recipe exploration, I’m probably going to do this once in a while.

So, I tried to make chili lime shrimp for the first time last week, but my source recipe called for a shit ton of soy sauce and the shrimp came out waaaaay too salty and a deep and hideous brown. My family gamely ate it, but I could tell from their faces that it didn’t go over well. (They are very kind to me about my cooking.)

This time I used a different bunch of source recipes that didn’t call for soy sauce. Most of the recipes I found were focusing on grilled shrimp (we don’t currently own a grill, alas) so I had to improvise, but here’s what I came up with.

First I thawed the shrimp, peeled it and patted it dry. I got a pound of shrimp including shells, and that gave each of us about eight shrimp. Then I made the marinade; three tablespoons of lime juice (I totally cheat and use bottled lime juice, sue me), two tablespoons of brown sugar, a bit of cayenne pepper, a bit of fresh garlic (again, I cheat by buying the jars of cut garlic), and a teaspoon of chili powder. Then I tossed the shrimp in and let it marinate for about an hour. God, shrimp is fucking disgusting when it’s raw, right?

marinating shrimp

Did I mention that my recipe posts will include badly centered and poorly lit cell phone photos? I TOTALLY FUCKING ROCK, Y’ALL.

Anyway, after I prepped the shrimp I then washed the crap out of my hands because *shudder* raw shrimp. I then got out the ingredients for the mango avocado salsa. Here’s my attempt at an artful arrangement of ingredients.

mango salsa ingredients

I probably should have taken them out of the bags, right? Eh, fuck it.

So then I went to YouTube to find videos on how to cut up a mango, because the last time I made a mango salsa it took me fucking forever and I made a huge mess. I used to eat mangoes all the fucking time, and I swear at one point I knew how to cut and peel them, but apparently that information has been deleted from my brain. I found my friend Jacqueline’s video of her cutting up a mango and she made it look super easy so I tried her technique. Sadly, I am apparently way less fucking coordinated because I a) immediately cut my thumb like a fucking idiot, and b) the mango skin kept tearing off when I tried to slice it from the peel. So then I had to rinse off all the bloody fucking mango bits – and yeah, I know I probably should have soaked them in bleach or vinegar or something, but I didn’t.

Next, because I’m fucking stupid, I did the smartest thing ever to do after cutting my finger while slicing a mango by then deciding to go ahead and chop and de-seed a jalapeno pepper. I highly recommended this, because you know you want to feel the BURNING FIRE OF A THOUSAND FUCKING SUNS IN YOUR THUMB TIP. Motherfucking OW.

So, anyhoo, I ended up with about a cup+ of no-longer-bloody mango and half a nicely chopped up jalapeno pepper. I added about two thirds cup of white onion (I would have used red onion normally, but only had white onions on hand), about a half cup of red bell pepper (yes, I had the yellow bell pepper in the picture, but I decided the red would look prettier), a whole bunch of cilantro (sorry, Dresden and all who say that cilantro tastes like soap; I think it tastes fucking awesome), a little salt, and some lime juice. Then I tossed it up and took a third of it out because my mother, for some insane fucking reason, doesn’t like avocado (sorry Mom!). I then cut up a small avocado and added it to the salsa, mixed it well, and stuck in the fridge.

I let everything sit for about an hour before starting some boiling water to make the rice. For some reason we have a ton of those “boil in a bag” rice things, and frankly I totally fucking suck at cooking rice from scratch, so I used two of the bags. I added a touch of salt and some lime juice to the water first. That needed ten minutes to boil, so then I turned up the heat under my already much beloved iron skillet and put in about a tablespoon of olive oil.

chili lime sauce ingredients

I then tossed in about three tablespoons of onion, the rest of the jalapeno pepper, and a heaping teaspoon of that pre-cut garlic into the heated oil. I let it saute a minute or two. See? Sauteing.


Can I just wax poetic for a minute about how much I love my skillet? It is seriously the best thing for cooking in EVER. Why I’ve been using horrible thin teflon frying pans for my whole fucking life I have no idea. The iron pan does a much better job of evenly heating, and I’ve used it for everything including cooking a steak OH MY GOD THAT STEAK WAS GOOD. I did recently start having some pain in my left elbow, however, and I realized tonight that comes from trying to lift and manipulate that heavy ass iron pan. I think it weighs more than Tori.

Moving on.

After the onions were translucent, I added in the big tablespoon of brown sugar and let the onions get that yummy caramelized look (I know, that’s not how you really caramelize onions, but whatever). Then I dumped in the shrimp and the marinade. I let the shrimp cook just for about a minute on each side, but still managed to slightly overcook them; I can’t get quite past the idea that seafood needs to be THOROUGHLY COOKED and I overdo it every time. I removed the shrimp from the heat and put it on the plates, then let the leftover marinade and vegetables boil off until there was a lovely syrupy sauce to pour over the shrimp (pouring the sauce on the shrimp is where I realized how I hurt my elbow; it’s hard to hold that pan up with one hand!). As the sauce thickened I decided it wasn’t reddish enough (didn’t want brown shrimp again) so I randomly shook in some paprika to make it redder. It tasted good, so…that worked out okay.

By now the rice was done, so I drained it and then dumped the rice into the still warm pan over the still warm burner. I put a couple of tablespoons of lime juice into the rice and then stirred in a bunch of chopped cilantro. I left it on the heat for a minute or two while stirring it before putting the rice on the plates next to the shrimp.

Then I spooned out the mango salsa, and we ate that shit. It was really fucking good, even though the shrimp was a touch overcooked (suggestions on how to NOT overcook shrimp more than welcome). For the record, one serving is just about 500 calories according to the recipe builder on My Fitness Pal.

Looks good, right?

chili lime shrimp with mango avocado salsa and cilantro lime rice

Comments Closed


  1. SarahF-T says

    Anthony Bourdain: ““Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”

    • Lydia says

      You can buy frozen chopped garlic and also chilli, in sticks or mini ice cubes. Along with frozen chopped onion, they make lazy cooking a DREAM!

    • Lauren says

      Hahahahaha… that’s great for Anthony Bourdain. He can come to my house and drop some off whenever I feel like using garlic but haven’t had time to get my ass to the market for a fresh head between work, school, and life in general.

      That mango salsa looks really good… I might be convinced to try it on my own!

      Lastly, dude, Cecily… were you in some kind of bet with someone about how many times you could say fuck in one post? Ha, it’s one of my favorite words, but damn, it stands out here like Anthony Bourdain in Taco Bell.

      • Cecily Kellogg says

        Ha! Well, I used it less often than I use it in the kitchen, if that means anything. Perhaps I was a bit over the top here.

  2. Karen says

    Thank you for the funniest recipe blog post I’ve read in a long time. Loved your artful arrangement. And yes, Anthony Bourdain has a point – when you next have $5 you don’t know where to spend, get yourself a garlic press and be done with the jarred stuff.

    • Cecily Kellogg says

      I will, I will. Before I was cooking so rarely that the garlic started growing before I ate it. :) (Also, I don’t use the garlic in oil. For the record.)

      • Karen says

        Fresh garlic is cheap. But the freshest head you can find (look for heads where the paper is still tightly wound around the cloves). Keep it somewhere that has good ventilation. If you get green sprouts you can use them in a salad. If you want to chop up the clove, just cut it in half lengthwise and pull out the green shoot. The garlic will still be tasty.

        Teach Tori how to peel and chop garlic and you will both give her the confidence to learn more in the kitchen AND save yourself the trouble. My younger daughter LOVES that she is the best garlic peeler in the family, LOL.

  3. says

    Love it – had you grown up in Queensland, you would know how to chop a mango – cheeks first as close to the seed as possible – score into cubes and then basically squeeze (or slice if you must) from the skin. I wish it were Summer and I could have mango…

  4. says

    Hey there – re: not overcooking shrimp, just last week I broke my streak of doing the same thing every #$(*)&#$ time and here’s what: take it off the heat/out of the oven a couple minutes before it seems reasonable that it’d be done. Why? ‘Cause it keeps cooking, and, barring dropping your tasty warm shrimp in a cold water bath, there’s no stopping it, so just plan on it. Worked like a charm. Hope it does for you too!

  5. Sophia says

    do you have any of the following at home: Heavy bottomed pan or pot, cleaver, metal meat tenderizer, chopper, grater, microplane, mortar and pestle, magic bullet, food processer? If yes, then buy one head of garlic at time and start using any of these mentioned to chop and crush garlic. Crush cloves under the pan or pot, using the side of the cleaver, using the flat side of the tenderizer or using any of the mentioned.

    since iron skillet retain heat longer i take it off the heat for 1-3 minutes before time stated for doneness. i had a hard time doing this for scrambled eggs but alton brown is right: if you dont take the eggs out before they look ready they will go from creamy and fluffy to rubbery in .0009483 seconds

  6. Sophia says

    as for rice i’m trying to perfect the water and time for rice in the crockpot so i can start it in the morning and come home to it ready. i’ll let you know when i cracked the code.

  7. says

    That receipe looks good and I hate shrimp. However, I know a brother who will love it and maybe a hubby depending on the heat. I will definitely be trying this sometime over the next couple of weeks. My brothers dad was a chef and according to my hubby he makes a mean chilli and garlic shrimp so here is hoping. Thanks for the post.

  8. says

    Hi! I half-laughed and half-agreed with you as I read your post a moment ago! I felt like I could definitely relate to cutting the mango wrong! The recipe sounds awesome!

  9. Dayna says

    Shrimp should never be marinated in acid for more than 15-20 minutes. The lime juice was “cooking” the shrimp the entire time it was resting.

    • Cecily Kellogg says

      WHAT??? OMG. Thanks for telling me! All the recipes said to leave it an hour!

      • Dayna says

        The Mexican dish ceviche uses no heat source to cook shrimp – just a lemon and/or lime marinade.

  10. says

    The shrimp sounds delish!

    As for not over-cooking, in my experience it is best to cook only until the second that the last teensy bit of gray of the shrimp starts to turn white or pink. If you cook it beyond that, it gets rubbery because it’s overdone. If I cook anything with shrimp added to it, I wait until everything else is cooked, then add the shrimp and it really only takes a minute or so for it to be done. Less, if you have the heat on high!

  11. pindy4176 says

    OMG, Cecily, you had me laughing out loud at my desk with your writing! Some of your best and funniest, and another recipe to try, too! (I bought the stuff for the avocado salad, and am making it tonight!)

    And I have the perfect title for your artfully arranged ingredients: “Still Life with Mango and Plastic Bags.”

  12. says

    A tip I recently learned for cutting up mangoes – stick a corn cob holder into one end of the mango, and use that to hold it upright as you peel and cut. Works great!

  13. Karen says

    Rice: measure 1 cup of white rice. Put it in a saucepan. Measure 1.5 cups of tap water. Put it in the same saucepan. Cover the saucepan, put it on the cooktop. Turn the burner on high and stand by until you hear the water boil. LISTEN (this might take some practice) for the steam. As soon as you think the water is boiling, turn the burner down to it’s lowest possible temperature, set a timer for 17 minutes and leave the rice alone. Never open the pot from the moment you turn on the heat until the moment you hear the timer beep.

    When the timer beeps move the pot of rice off the heat. You can leave it sitting there until the rest of your dinner is done, or you can open and stir. Your choice.

    If you wait too long to turn down the heat, your rice might boil over and start sending starchy water out under the lid. Don’t panic and open the pot. Simply remove it from the heat until the boiling stops, put the pot back on a very low flame and set the timer for 16 minutes.

      • says

        for $15 at CVS you can buy a rice cooker. (which will also cook barley, quinoa, etc)

        the shrimp i buy is fresh frozen and cleaned, from costco. if i clean shrimp i’m so queasy i can’t even eat dinner. sometimes, if you’re buying at the fish counter, the peeps behind the counter will clean your shrimp for free.

  14. says

    Oh my fucking god that looks so good. *_* Mango avocado salsa is the best accompaniment to shrimp, ever. But you’re right: raw shrimp and prawn and mostly, any raw shellfish and seafood is disgusting and ick and worse even than raw chicken.

    But this looks really, really delicious. And probably totally worth it. Methinks I’ll need to add some things to next week’s shopping list…

  15. AnneH says

    Great post! I especially like that you omitted how you thawed the shrimp!!! It’s nobody’s business. :) I’m still laughing about your last cooking post and all of the proper chicken thawing comments. Keep up the great healthy eating!

  16. wendy says

    two things: i have that same mixing bowl and THANK YOU for the tip on the recipe builder on myfitnesspal. i had no idea that was available.

  17. Kelly says

    Adding anything to the water when using bagged rice won’t add anything flavorwise, as the bag isn’t that permeable. . I’d look for a rice cooker that you can use as a steamer–most thrift stores have them, as well as crockpots. This looks good, but I’d skip the added sugar–most onions don’t need any help to caramelize on their own.
    Or else make rice pilaf. Deborah Madison’s recipe is my go-to.

    • Cecily Kellogg says

      Huh. Good to know! I’ve got to get better at cooking rice. I used the sugar also because I wanted a sweeter sauce. :)

  18. Hetty Fauxvert says

    I would totally eat that! (And I agree that cilantro is da bomb. ;o) Also, sorry for laughing at your pain but your description of the post-cut jalapeno ordeal was pretty darned funny!

    One question: How do you CLEAN an iron pan? Everyone always says, “Oh, just wipe it out,” but the thought of eating from a pan that has been “just wiped out” a hundred or a thousand times and never made any acquaintance with soap and water makes me a little queasy. So, what’s the deal on that?

    • Cecily Kellogg says

      I feel the same way! The instructions that came with the pan said you can use soap, just use a soft sponge. So that’s what I do. I also oil it after washing. I’m probably doing it wrong, but it works so far!

    • Patti says

      You burn it out, just like the cast iron grills on your bbq. Wipe it down with papertowels, heat it on super high, scrape out the bits of stuff, remove from the heat and oil it until the next use.

  19. AmyinTexas says

    And after reading the comments I feel like a schmuck for buying jarred garlic. :-(

  20. says

    This looks delicious. Can you turn your adventures in cooking into a series? We can learn with you how to cook yummy, healthy food…I could definitely use a guide that makes me feel empowered, instead of clueless, and that’s what I like about this recipe.

    I like the suggestions in the comments, too.

    • Cecily Kellogg says

      I’m so stunned by the response, but yes, I plan to do one about once a week. :)

  21. says

    Not only do I want to try this recipe, I am laughing my ass off at how much more I enjoy reading your recipe posts than I do Pioneer Woman’s. I LOVE that you’ve returned to the gratuitous use of the f-bomb in your posts.

    • Cecily Kellogg says

      Oh, but Ree’s recipes are super special! She’s wonderful, and I’m proud to say she’s a friend. Love her. But thank you!

      • says

        Oh, for sure she is awesome. (My cooking skills improved SO MUCH with the step-by-step photos and her kindly assumption in every blog post that she is teaching amateurs, which I am.) I live in Oklahoma, I think I’m required to love her-and this is easily done. This just reminded me of your posts of years gone by and that made me happy.

  22. jrm says

    Just read this post. Shrimp takes about 3 minutes, 5 minutes tops, to cook. The only trick I recommend is to have your marinade ready and throw the shrimp in, stir and it’s done. It is blue when uncooked and turns pink when cooked. After it turns pink get it out of the pan ASAP. Don’t leave in the pan w/heat off as the pan heat will continue to transfer.

    I love eating shrimp for the fast cooking time.

  23. Kristin says

    Looks good!

    By the way, I’ve never tried this, but I’m told you can cook rice the way you cook pasta: in lots of boiling water, and then drain. (Use a strainer with small holes….) ;-)

  24. Tine says

    I heart the person who offered the tip on peeling mangoes with corn-on-the-cob holders. I just mangled a mango over the weekend because they’re so damn slippery.

    Re: cilantro. It’s a genetic thing, apparently. I used to tease my cilantro-hating mom mercilessly until I read about that. Oops! :/

  25. Peanut Gallery says

    I found this link on Pinterest. Loved the recipe, but didn’t care for the swearing. It was annoying and distracting to read.

    Oh well, welcome to the Internet, I guess. To each their own.