Friday, April 10, 2009

Mastic Shrimp Saganaki (Γαρίδες Σαγανάκι με Μαστίχα)

Wow! This looks incredible! I don't know how I can come across mastic resin... perhaps I can come up with a creative substitute.

Anything with shrimp is wonderful. Throw Greek into the mix, and it makes me want to shout, "Opa!"

(Posted with permission of Sam Sotiropoulos, the Greek Gourmand)


via Greek Food Recipes and Reflections by Sam Sotiropoulos on 4/7/09

This is one of my Greek food signature dishes. I created this recipe for my wife and it is now her favourite shrimp dish. For those of you who are unfamiliar with mastic resin, have a look at my previous post about this extraordinary spice.

My Mastic Shrimps served over of a bed of rice - Click to Enlarge Image

Here in North America, the term saganaki often refers to a Greek fried cheese that is set alight to resounding shouts of "Opa!" In truth, the word saganaki refers to a single-serving frying pan with two handles. In Greece, a saganaki can be a fried cheese, or it can be a shrimp saganaki and/or a mussels saganaki, both of which are usually tomato sauce based dishes and typically include Feta cheese. If this is confusing, no worries, it's all Greek food to me too!

Shrimps in the pan and ready for turning - Click to Enlarge Image

This particular version of my dish does not include the Feta cheese as it is meant to be a fast-friendly recipe. Easter is just around the corner and many Greeks observe the Lenten fast during this period which means dairy is a no-no. If you are not fasting, feel free to add the Feta cheese as mentioned below. You can also halve the quantities of ingredients as listed for a single serving portion. In addition, if you happen to have some good olive bread on hand, it makes for an excellent complement which allows you to mop up every last bit of this unbelievably tasty sauce.


20 - 24 large raw shrimp, shelled with tails on
2 cups strained tomato puree/sauce
2 medium sized onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, pressed or grated
1 roasted red pepper, diced
2 tablespoons masticha liqueur
½ teaspoon mastic resin crystals
½ cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

  1. Sauté diced onions in olive oil over a medium heat until soft and translucent (3 - 5 minutes).
  2. Add garlic to the pan and stir it in well for about 30 seconds. Then, add the tomato puree/sauce to the pan, along with the diced roasted red pepper and a half cup of water, then the salt and pepper to taste and stir it well to mix. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat only slightly and allow the sauce to simmer well for 8 minutes; do not cover the pan.
  4. Add the masticha liqueur along with the mastic resin crystals to the sauce and stir well to incorporate. Continue to simmer the sauce for another 2 minutes, stirring the sauce a couple more times.
  5. Quickly add the shrimp to the pan and make sure to give the pan a couple shakes to settle the shrimp well into the sauce. Cook for two minutes. Then, using a pair of tongs or a fork, quickly turn all the shrimp over and cook for another minute or so, then remove the pan from the heat for serving.
I often serve this recipe over a bed of rice and garnished with some sesame seeds. as depicted in the photo above. It is equally good with pasta, especially spaghetti or linguini noodles. Or, you can simply eat it on its own with some olive bread as already mentioned. Also, if you are not able to find the mastic liqueur, simply add another teaspoon of the mastic resin to the sauce when cooking. Lastly, a cup of crumbled Feta cheese can optionally be added to the pan just before you remove it from the heat for serving.

If you are interested in obtaining high-quality pure mastic resin or any other mastic products, drop me an email: greekgourmand[at]

Kali Orexi! (Bon Appétit),

Sam Sotiropoulos
Greek Gourmand™
Greek Food Recipes and Reflections
Copyright © 2008, Sam Sotiropoulos. All Rights Reserved.


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