How To Make… Gambas Al Ajillo with José Wong

It is safe to say that a tapas feast without king prawns is a complete waste of time- If you didn’t have Gambas, did you really have tapas at all?

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 3 July 2018

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Gambas Al Ajillo, or king prawns cooked in garlic oil, is the best way to serve king prawns and Jose Wong, head chef at Sandinista is going to talk you through how to make the ultimate prawn tapa cooked in homemade garlic oil and with smoked paprika.

This is a classic seafood dish from Southern Spain, typically served in the bars of coastal towns and larger cities. This dish is best served piping hot and is best eaten with your bare hands for the fully authentic Spanish experience.

Gambas Al Ajillo



For the Garlic Oil
(Makes 750ml)325ml Olive Oil
325ml Vegetable Oil
1 full bulb of garlic 10 King Prawns
1 heaped tsp. Smoked Paprika
Salt & Pepper
1 Lemon
Pea shoots to serve
  1. For the Garlic oil, pour the oils into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil.  Add the garlic and allow to cool and then pour everything into the bottle (including the cloves of garlic) and leave until you use it all up- the longer the better.
  2. For the prawns, start by peeling off the outer shell leaving the head and tail on. Take a sharp knife and cut down the back of the prawn to devein the prawn and remove the digestive tract.  
  3. Heat up two tablespoons of the garlic oil on a high heat until it starts to smoke. Add the prawns and cook for one minute until they turn pink and slightly charred. Take the prawns out and plate them up.
  4. Heat up the oil again and add the sweet Spanish smoked paprika and mix it to let it infuse with the garlic oil. Pour this mixture over the prawns and finish with a little coarse sea salt, a little pepper and garnish with pea-shoots and wedges of lemon.

Sandinista, 2 Old Bank St, City Centre, Manchester M2 7PF
0161 832 9955