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Greek Shrimp Saganaki with Masticha Liqueur

Greek Shrimp Saganaki with Masticha Liqueur

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Greek Shrimp Saganaki (called Garides Saganaki in Greek), is an appetizer made with shrimps, flavoured with masticha liqueur, cooked in a tomato sauce.

Saganaki takes its name from a traditional frying pan with two handles, called “sagani”. Hence all dishes cooked in this special frying pan are called “saganaki”.

Fresh shrimp image

The most popular way of making this appetizer is with ouzo but I used masticha liqueur instead.

I was not going to post this recipe today but some time after Easter, as I wanted to focus on strictly Lenten recipes.  

Those who read my blog regularly know that I have been fasting since Clean Monday that is since 2nd March and I have been posting only nistisima, which are Orthodox Lenten recipes, as during lent no animal or products derived from animals such as eggs and dairy products, are allowed to be eaten.   The only thing allowed is seafood and on two Sundays, the 25th March and on Palm Sunday, fish.

Garides or shrimp saganaki image

During Lent, on Sundays, I either make octopus, kalamari or shrimps and on the other days, I usually cook vegetables or dried legumes.

This recipe was made on the morning of my birthday on the 29th March. That morning it was a lovely spring, sunny Sunday and we enjoyed our lunch outside on the balcony accompanied by some ouzo.

The dish finishes with the addition of feta so as I was the only one fasting, before adding the feta I took some out for myself and added some feta for the rest of the family, who are not strictly fasting.

Apart from this dish, I also made some Bourekia with Mushrooms, a Greek salad and with some crusty bread, it was a very filling meal.

garides saganaki appetizer image

I cook more than three different recipes daily so it is impossible for me to post all the recipes I make as early as I would like to.  I have more than 100 unpublished recipes some dating more than a year back and whenever the occasion arises I publish whatever I think suitable.  I have made this recipe more than once.  

When I was hosting the Think Spice event, I made a thorough research about mastic and it was then that I saw mastic liqueur used in saganaki,  so I had that in mind when making the recipe. 

Those recipes did not have any of the ingredients I added but I made the usual saganaki which is usually in a tomato sauce and feta making my own twist by adding mushrooms, peppers and fresh herbs.   It was as simple as that.

To make this saganaki, I used fresh shrimp.

Before cooking them you will have to devein them, as follows:

Deveining shrimp is a common step in preparing shrimp for cooking. The “vein” in shrimp is actually the digestive tract, and removing it can improve the appearance and taste of the shrimp.

Here’s how to devein shrimp:


  • Raw shrimp
  • Knife or shrimp deveining tool
  • Cutting board
  • A small bowl of water (optional)


  1. Peel the shrimp: Start by removing the shell of the shrimp, leaving only the tail if you prefer. You can also remove the tail, depending on your recipe and preference. To peel, gently grip the shrimp with one hand and use your other hand to pull the shell away, starting from the head end and working your way toward the tail.
  2. Make a shallow incision: Lay the peeled shrimp flat on a cutting board. Use a small knife or a specialized shrimp deveining tool. Hold the shrimp firmly with one hand and make a shallow incision along the back of the shrimp, just deep enough to expose the dark vein. Be careful not to cut too deep into the shrimp.
  3. Remove the vein: Once you’ve made the incision, you’ll see a dark line running along the back of the shrimp. This is the digestive vein. You can remove it using the tip of your knife, a toothpick or the shrimp deveining tool. Insert the knife or tool under the vein and lift it out. You can also use your fingers or a paper towel to grip the vein and pull it out gently.

  4. Rinse and clean: After removing the vein, you can rinse the shrimp under cold running water to ensure all the debris is washed away. If you prefer, you can also briefly soak the shrimp in a bowl of water to help wash away any remaining bits.
  5. Pat dry: Use a paper towel to gently pat the cleaned shrimp dry before cooking.

Now your shrimp are deveined and ready to be used in your favorite shrimp recipe. Deveining shrimp not only enhances the appearance but also removes any gritty texture that the vein can contribute to the dish. Enjoy your delicious shrimp!

This morning when I visited a Greek blogger, I saw a certain similarity to my recipe and just said that I had made a similar recipe.    He started sending me e-mails, surprised that I could think of something he has also thought of, as if he had made the discovery of the century.   I replied to his questions and I even sent him a copy of my recipe as well as a picture of my recipe.   He insinuated that I made everything up and was warned not to post the recipe as I would make a fool of myself to claim that I made a similar recipe since he published it first and copyrighted it.

I am sure that the Greek bloggers have understood to whom I am referring to, as they have had a similar experience with him in the past.

He chose not to publish my comment.    The conclusions are yours.

Garides with rice pilaf image

This dish can be also served without the feta for a Lenten (nistisimo) dish.

Garides saganaki image

Greek Shrimp Saganaki with Masticha Liqueur

Yield: 4 (as an appetizer)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 400 grams shrimps, deveined
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup bell peppers, red, yellow, green, julienned
  • 5 button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 shot masticha liqueur
  • 1 ripe tomato, peeled and cubed or grated
  • 100 grams feta (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan (or sagani) and sauté the onion and the garlic until translucent.
  2. Add the shrimps and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and add the masticha liqueur and mix for a minute until the alcohol evaporates.
  4. Add the mushrooms, peppers, fresh herbs parsley, oregano and thyme and sauté for five minutes.
  5. Add the tomato and keep mixing about 15 minutes until all the liquids evaporate and it remains only with the sauce. (The dish finishes here as a Lenten dish).
  6. Add the feta and stir for a few minutes.


Sagani is a traditional frying pan with two handles. Dishes cooked in this frying pan are called "saganaki".

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 369Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 233mgSodium 1763mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 2gSugar 8gProtein 28g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

Collage Shrimp Saganaki with Masticha liqueur image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

Lenten Recipes (mostly vegan)

During the Greek Orthodox Fasting period, meat and animal prod­ucts (cheese, milk, butter, eggs, lard), fish (meaning fish with backbones), olive oil and wine (all alcoholic drinks) are not consumed during the weekdays of Great Lent  Octopus and shell-fish are allowed, as is vegetable margarine, shortening, and vegetable oils, gelatin, olives, as well as honey are allowed.



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Thursday 24th of June 2010

Hello, I have been reading your blog for a while, and I am amazed at your cooking stamina, your creativity and your experimentation with Greek recipes. This Sunday we had a dinner to honor my father, and among other things I made garides saganaki to serve to our guests. Before posting my recipe, I decided to take a look on the internet, to see what other bloggers did with this recipe. I read your post, read about the controversy with this Greek blogger, and decided that you should remove all masticha from your house! Ha, Ha, just kidding! How come that I, relatively new to blogging, knew exacty whom you were refering to? He makes that kind of impression. I never thought of using masticha with shrimp, but masticha is part of our heritage, and I am glad it's being used in all these various ways. I am facinated by the combination of shrimp and masticha, and I will have to try it. Thank you Ivy for your beautiful posts.


Thursday 24th of June 2010

Hi Ana. Welcome and it's wonderful to meet you. Thanks for your lovely comment. I have forgortten about this controversy as I've stopped communicating with this person ever since. At the beginning of blogging I wanted to record my traditional recipes, and as the time passes, I think that I have proven my creativity in hundreds of recipes and practically 99% of my recipes are my own creations.


Friday 9th of October 2009

Thanks Cheryl for leaving a comment and I am glad that you liked the shrimps. I have a recipe for tomato fritters, which I hope you will like.

Cheryl Candes

Friday 9th of October 2009

Just returned on a trip from Greece and loved your recipe, tried it tonight and it was so good. Want to know if you also have a recipe for Tomato Fritters or tomato keftethes? Have seen different recipes but not quite certain which to use. Would appreciate it if you could email me a recipe if you have it. Thanks for the Saganaki recipe


Wednesday 15th of April 2009

it's disgusting to hear that you have been intimidated by emails and warned not to post what you created and wrote about. i congratulate you on your courage to beat down bullies. keep doing what you do best KALO PASXA

maria's last blog post..Gifts from Crete (Δώρα από τη Κρητη)


Monday 13th of April 2009

Ivy, I'm sorry you had to go through this ... I have been behind on blogging lately and just got to read this post of yours. How awful for people to actually have the nerve, the gall, to assert they created dishes. And to even take it a step further and essentially "harass" you about it. I feel sorry for this person as he has nothing better to do with his time. As for your dish--I would much rather dive into a large platter of your own version of shrimp saganaki me mastiha along with a big "fratzola" of bread for dipping.

Maria's last blog post..Savvato tou Lazarou--Saturday of Lazarus

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