Grilled Thai Chili Sesame Shrimp

Grilled Thai Chili Sesame Shrimp with Roasted Asparagus


Having a new favorite sauce is like having a new hammer—everything starts to look like a nail, or in this case, everything on the grill looks like a smear-able recipient. When we reworked a sauce for Thai Chili Sesame Chicken Wings a few months ago, it was an instant favorite around our table. The sweet, tangy, spicy sauce is addictive, leaving me no choice but to create more ways to use it. It was perfect for Thai Chicken Pizza and chicken wings, so why not grill a few shrimp, and test it on some seafood too.

Oh my, summer grilling just got more interesting.

Though the sesame seeds are optional, the added texture is nice and I love the rich contrast of the black sesame seeds on the shrimp. Black sesame seeds are more flavorful (and fun) than white or brown sesame seeds and contain 60% more calcium than the lighter seeds. Since I was in a sesame seed kind of mood, it was only appropriate to dress the asparagus with a few of the tan seeds, which settle nicely once the asparagus is tossed with butter.  Quinoa is a perfect bed for the shrimp, making it easy to capture every bit of tasty sauce.

Making your own Thai Chili Sauce at home gives you the freedom to adjust the flavors to suit any preference. Add more honey if you like it sweeter, dried chili peppers to kick up the heat, or vinegar and lime for more tangy bite. Whatever you decide to slather it on or however you choose to adjust flavor, fresh lime juice takes it to a completely new level, so don’t be tempted to skip that part. Shrimp cooks in less than 10 minutes and there is always excitement when the family sees it on the menu, so you can bet this dish will grace our table more this summer for smiles all around.

Grilled Thai Chili Sesame Shrimp
A sweetly tangy Thai chili sauce with just enough spice to grab some attention clings to tender, smoky grilled shrimp for a meal that comes together in under 30 minutes from scratch.
  • 2 whole limes -- 1 cut in half, 1 sliced into wedges and set aside
  • ⅓ cup butter -- melted
  • 24 large shrimp -- about 2 pounds, 12-16 count; peeled and deveined, tails on
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce -- Red Boat
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1½ tablespoons chili garlic sauce -- Panda Brand
  • 4 cloves garlic -- minced
  • 1½ tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot -- dissolved in a little cold water
  • black sesame seeds
  1. If using a gas grill, preheat grill for 5-10 minutes before cooking the shrimp--there is usually enough time to do this while preparing the shrimp. If using charcoal, start it early enough to make sure coals are hot and glowing before cooking shrimp.
  2. For the sauce: Combine the honey, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sherry, chili garlic sauce, garlic, and dissolved cornstarch in a small sauce pan and stir to combine over medium heat. Cook until sauce begins to bubble and thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Squeeze the juice from one of the lime halves into the melted butter, stir to combine. Once the shrimp are peeled and deveined (leave the tails on), place in a bowl and squeeze the juice from the other half of the lime over the shrimp and toss. Place the shrimp on skewers so the skewer goes through part of the end by the tail and part of the thicker end to form a crescent shape. Line the shrimp on the skewer one after the other without smashing the shrimp together or crowding.
  4. Once the grill is ready and the sauce is made, brush the shrimp with lime-butter on both sides. Grill over medium-high heat about 2-3 minutes on each side, brushing more butter on after turning, until the shrimp turns from grey to bright pink in color and the flesh appears opaque. Brush each side with sauce and grill for 1 minute.
  5. Remove from the grill and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges and additional sauce at the table. Squeeze lime juice over the shrimp just before eating.
Notes & Suggestions
Larger, meaty shrimp 10-16 count are an excellent choice for the grill, using a fish basket or skewers work best for containment. Add more honey for a sweeter sauce, dried chili peppers to kick up the heat, or vinegar and lime for more tangy bite.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 4

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter Thursday
Mom Trends Friday Food
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday
Hearth & Soul Hop at Savoring Today


  1. says

    This looks great. And so good for you. I love the contrasting colour of the shrimp and the asparagus. And that’s a great way to cook the asparagus. xx

    • Judy says

      Thanks, Shobha, for stopping by here too! I enjoyed visiting your blog, look forward to seeing more from you. 🙂

  2. says

    The opening photo looks delicious! I really enjoy barbecued shrimp, Judy, and cannot wait to give this Thai sauce a try, especially being I can control the heat. This will definitely be on my Summer grilling rotation. Thanks!

    • Judy says

      Thank John, the photos are always the hardest part for me–always a surprise when they turn out. 😉 If you do try the sauce, let me know how you like it … so glad it is grilling season!

  3. says

    What a gorgeous plate of food. I love chili prawns and these take it up a notch with that lime juice. I make my own sauce too but I’m going to try your recipe next time.

    The hammer and nail cracked me up. I’m so guilty of that!

  4. says

    This is just the perfect spring.. soon to be summer dish. The colors and the flavors are a perfect match. I’ve got some black sesames just waiting to be sprinkled:) The light on that photo is perfect.. is that natural light or a stand? Just contemplating buying one of those.. it’s been so cloudy here lately:P xoxo Smidge
    Just A Smidgen recently posted..Home-Coming Lemon BarsMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you! It is natural light, nothing better … I too would like a stand or box, the afternoon thunderstorms are great for the garden, not so great for photos, eh?! Black sesames are so fun … can’t wait to see what you sprinkle them on. 🙂

  5. says

    Your Grilled Thai Chili Sesame Shrimp looks so good, especially with the wonderful asparagus. I always like to have a go-to sauce recipe that works with lots of things, and this one sounds fantastic. I have never heard of black sesame seeds; I will have to try to find some!

  6. says

    I love Thai-inspired foods. LOVE them! These shrimp look absolutely stunning – and perhaps dinner tomorrow night. I have some shrimp in the freezer… oh the possibilities! 🙂
    Hopping over from Hearth & Soul tonight. Hope you’ll swing by the new (formerly EKat’s Kitchen) and say hi!
    Erin @SalmonAtSeven recently posted..DIY Fruit Bouquets – A TutorialMy Profile

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