West African Tomato Sauce with Shrimp

January 5, 2017 (Last Updated: March 31, 2020)

To bring the essence of a West African cuisine into my cooking, I put together this Spicy Shrimp Tomato Sauce recipe using Palm Oil.

tomato sauce served with shrimp on plate with fried plantains and potatoes

Spicy Tomato Sauces are a common staple in a lot of West African cuisine as is seafood. West Africans love their seafood since a number of West African countries have cities existing along the coast of the Atlantic ocean so It is not at all uncommon to find West African sauces and stews inundated with a medley of seafood delicacies. As a matter of fact, seafood is so popular in West Africa that powdered dried shrimp or crayfish is often used and sold commercially as a seasoning for native sauces, soups and stews. To bring the essence of a West African cuisine into my cooking, I put together this West African Tomato Sauce using shrimp and palm oil. This tomato sauce is commonly paired with any starchy side like rice, potatoes, West African yams, and plantain. You could even be interesting and eat it with pasta. I served mine with fried plantains and home french fries and of course it wouldn’t be legitimately African without that extra touch of heat that just lends more depth to its fantastic taste!

How to Make Tomato Sauce with Shrimp

Please note that while annatto oil can be used as a substitute for palm oil in this recipe, using palm oil gives a distinct flavor to the sauce that is more authentic to its West African roots.

Simmer Onions in Oil

In a saucepan, heat some palm oil, and simmer onions gently until lightly brown for 20 minutes on low heat (onions should not be caramelized, but only lightly golden brown).

While the onions are simmering, grind the garlic and ginger into a paste (I use a small mortar and pestle to make the ginger garlic paste, but feel free to use a food processor).

Add Tomatoes, Spices and Shrimp

After the onions have simmered for 20 minutes, add the tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, and pepper, then simmer under low-medium heat covered for another 30 minutes. Stir the sauce lightly every 5 minutes to prevent the sauce from burning

While the sauce is simmering, peel and devein the shrimp and set aside.

Once the sauce is almost ready, the oil should start separating from the tomato sauce. At this stage, add the salt and shrimp. Stir and simmer covered for another 5 minutes on low-medium heat.

Serve hot with desired side.

Quite a few West African recipes (like this one) call for a lot of hot pepper, the pepper tends to mellow out in the cooking process. The dish ends up not being as spicy, but the pepper adds a depth of flavor to the dish that would be missing without it. So go ahead and add some in and attempt a ride on the wild side! Enjoy!

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tomato sauce served with shrimp on plate with fried plantains and potatoes
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

West African Tomato Sauce with Shrimp Recipe

To bring the essence of a West African cuisine into my cooking, I put together this spicy shrimp tomato sauce recipe using palm oil.
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr
Course: Brunch, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: African, Nigerian, West African
Servings: 6
Calories: 107.2kcal
Author: Ms. Yum

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1/2 pound of shrimp
  • 7 roma- tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thumb size piece of ginger
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 3 tbsp palm oil
  • 2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • In a sauce pan, heat oil, and simmer onions gently until lightly brown for 20 minutes on low heat (onions should not be caramelized, but only lightly golden brown).
  • While the onions are simmering, grind the garlic and ginger into a paste (I use a small mortar and pestle to make the ginger garlic paste, but feel free to use a food processor).
  • After the onions have simmered for 20 minutes, add the tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, and pepper, then simmer under low-medium heat covered for another 30 minutes. Stir the sauce lightly every 5 minutes to prevent the sauce from burning
  • While the sauce is simmering, peel and de-vein the shrimp and set aside.
  • Once the sauce is almost ready, the oil should start separating from the tomato sauce. At this stage, add the salt and shrimp. Stir and simmer covered for another 5 minutes on low-medium heat.
  • Serve hot with desired side.

Notes

West African Tomato Sauce Calories and Nutrition

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Jalyn Glore
    September 13, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    I love this recipe goes good with grated cassava, onion pepper cucumber tomato relish, with plantains.

  • Reply
    Sara
    March 31, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    What a wonderful looking dinner! So many flavors in one dish! I can’t wait to try this in the coming weeks. What do you suggest as a side?

  • Reply
    HEATHER PERINE
    April 1, 2020 at 9:37 am

    5 stars
    I love making a shrimp dish about once a week so I’m always looking for more inspiration. Love the simplicity of this but also that it’s bursting with flavor. Can’t wait to add this to my weekly rotation!

  • Reply
    Amy
    April 1, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    5 stars
    Wow, this looks so flavorful! I’m sure the sauce could really kick any dish up a notch, but I think it will pair especially well with shrimp. I can’t wait to make this for my family sometime!

  • Reply
    GUNJAN C Dudani
    April 2, 2020 at 10:42 am

    WOW! I never thought of this combination ever. I am so glad I found this recipe. Love all the ingredients in it.

  • Reply
    AMANDA
    April 2, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    This recipe is so easy to make. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Danielle
    April 3, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    5 stars
    I am sooo ready to explore West African cuisine a bit more. This shrimp sauce is a great stop but I am not stopping there – on my way to browse your blog – super excited to find more delicious recipes like this!

  • Reply
    Analida Braeger
    April 3, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    5 stars
    I am a huge fan of really spicy stews and this one looks fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Jenni LeBaron
    April 6, 2020 at 12:39 am

    That habanero certainly adds some heat to this tasty dish! I love a good spicy seafood dish and this one looks really flavorful!

  • Reply
    Jacque Hastert
    April 6, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    5 stars
    I love the heat that comes with this soup! This soup really sounds amazing and perfect for tonight!

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