Shrimp Boka Dushi

Shrimp Boka Dushi

Other Recipes from Planet Barbecue Episode 107 – Fire and Spice

This is a dish of three continents. I tasted it in Curaçao, but its roots lie in the East Indies, specifically, Java. In Papiamentu, the local dialect—a musical blend of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and West African languages—boka means mouth and dushi means sweet. The seasonings and spices for the dish are sold at the Floating Market in Willemstad, a colorful flotilla of Venezuelan produce boats that make a 35-mile journey to sell comestibles from South America. The assertive flavors of ginger and sambal oelek (chile paste) will light up your mouth like a Fourth of July sky. Traditionally, boka dushi is made with chicken. Here, I apply the sweet, nutty, fiery flavors to shrimp.

Serves: 4
Method: Direct grilling
Advance preparation: 30 minutes for marinating the chicken
You’ll also need: 36 to 40 short bamboo skewers and a foil grill shield


Shrimp Boka Dushi


  • 2 pounds large shrimp
  • 1/3 cup ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce), or 3 tablespoons each regular soy sauce and molasses
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek or other chile paste or sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Recipe Steps

1: Peel and devein the shrimp.

2: Make the marinade: Combine the ketjap manis, lime juice, ginger, garlic, sambal oelek, cumin, and turmeric in a large bowl and stir well to blend. Reserve one-third of the marinade for basting and set aside.

3: With a small sharp knife, trim the ends of the sugarcane skewers to make sharp points. Make two starter holes in the shrimp so you can easily skewer them. Place the skewered shrimp in a baking dish. Brush on both sides with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4: Set up the grill for direct grilling and heat to high.

5: When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate, then arrange the skewers on the hot grate with the foil shield under the exposed ends of the skewers. Grill the shrimp, turning with tongs, until they are sizzling, browned, and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes in all. Serve the boka dushi at once with small bowls of Dutch West Indian Peanut Sauce for dipping.

Recipe Tips

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