Halabos na Hipon (Filipino Sautèed Shrimp)

There are not so many Filipino recipes from my childhood that I cook for my family. I like the simple ones that my kids' and husband's palates can easily comprehend like this Halabos na Hipon. It doesn't hide any other flavors because really, the ingredients are so minimal and basic. Shrimp, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. With ingredients like that, you can only expect to taste the best that the shrimp can give you. It's very close to Italian cuisine and I think for that reason, this particular dish is favored by my family and friends so much.


When I was young, the shrimp in this dish would always have the shells on which hinders the meat from absorbing most of the flavors. It was one of the dishes that I dreaded eating when I was young because it was tedious to peel and devein them one by one while eating but I loved the taste especially after I dip it in the vinegar dipping sauce and spoon the white rice along with it.

In some Filipino kitchens, this dish is cooked with butter to make it richer or with lemon soda to give it a little kick of sweetness. In my own kitchen, I changed things a bit and the first thing I did was peel and devein the shrimp before cooking them but I kept some heads to retain some of the flavors that are lost from discarding the shells. Without the shells, my kids eat this dish with gusto along with the steamed rice.

Sautèeing the shrimp with just garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, this dish comes out unbelievably rich in straightforward flavors. When partnered with steamed white rice, the pair goes perfectly well. The vinegar dipping sauce is typically Filipino but for the palates that are not used to the contrasting saltiness and sourness together, you can also do away with the vinegar and enjoy the dish just the same with the rice.

This dish is one of my family's all-time favorites and it doesn't even take me so much time to cook it. Whereas for the preparation, well, it does take a bit of time in peeling and deveining the shrimp which I sometimes do a few hours ahead, seal in a container and refrigerate. You can also steam the rice while peeling the shrimp. The dipping sauce can simply be a mixture of vinegar and salt. You can also add minced onions and garlic to give it more intensity. Or you can also skip the garlic and add some tomatoes and cucumbers too.

Halabos na Hipon

Serves 4

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 1 kilo (or more) shrimp, peeled & deveined leaving some of the heads on
  • Salt & pepper 
  • Fresh parsley (optional)
  • Steamed white rice
  • Dipping sauce (optional): vinegar, salt, 1 small onion, 2 small tomatoes, 1 small cucumber
  1. Over medium heat, warm up a medium saucepan with extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Add garlic, toast until golden then discard.
  3. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn orange and opaque, depending on the size, between 6 to 10 minutes.
  4. Discard the heads.
  5. Season with salt & pepper when almost cooked. 
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired. 
  7. Prepare the vinegar dipping sauce. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, salt and minced onions. If preferred, add the tomatoes and cucumber too.
  8. Serve the halabos na hipon while still hot with steamed white rice and the vinegar dipping sauce if desired.