Stirfried (or Grilled) Shrimp

Eating shrimp (and most other seafood) these days is fraught with many ethical questions as we look at the depletion and destruction of our oceans, and naturally there are many loud voices on both sides of each question: to eat or not to eat? wild caught or farmed? etc., etc. If you are concerned with the condition of our environment and want to educate yourself further on the specific issue of eating seafood, I recommend a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website, where you will find a plethora of resources that will help you decide what to do. Another fine resource is a good old-fashioned fish monger, many of whom are starting to appear at local farmers’ markets in coastal areas. Of course, they want to sell their product, but they have a wealth of knowledge about the product’ origins, and they love to share their information if you catch them at a not-too-busy moment.

I like to make mindful choices about the food I consume and prepare for others, but I also don’t fall in the “all-or-nothing” category where food is concerned. Whenever possible, I buy sustainably raised or caught seafood and enjoy it – if my only choice is of uncertain origin and falls in the “avoid” column for sustainability, I would rather stick to vegetable-based meals (yes, I know, that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish, if you’ll excuse the play on words). So on with the recipe – btw, wild-caught pink shrimp from Oregon and spot prawns from British Columbia are the “best choice” in this category according to Seafood Watch.

The traditional method of cooking this dish calls for some intensive pre-preparation of shell-on shrimp: remove head and tail, remove legs, cut the shell down the back and devein. Leaving the shell on lends a lovely color and deeper flavor to this dish, but because I don’t like to eat with my hands and peel as I go (still working on the Chinese way of shelling shrimp in my mouth and then removing the shells delicately with chopsticks!) and I like to make stock from the shells, I’ve taken to peeling and deveining the shrimp for this recipe or just buying pre-cleaned shrimp for the ultimate in convenience.


  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 scallion, minced



  1. Combine the shrimp with the marinade ingredients and refrigerate for 1-2 h. If you go the traditional route and leave the shells on, you can go 2-4 h with the marinade process.
  2. Heat the oil in the wok on high heat until it shimmers.
  3. Add the shrimp and scallion and stirfry quickly until the shrimp turns pink and the cut from deveining splits open slightly (approximately 3 m for large shrimp). If the scallion starts to brown, reduce the heat a bit.
  4. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon or strainer to the serving platter.


This makes a great grilled shrimp recipe – add 1 T oil and the scallion to the marinade and grill until the shrimp is pink and firm and the back splits open a bit. I find it easiest to do this on skewers.

nutritional data:

This recipe is healthful for those who aren’t too concerned with cholesterol – shrimp is naturally high in this area, so if you choose to make it, serve it with plenty of brown rice and some low-cholesterol vegetable dishes. For the nutritional data, I have included 1/2 of the marinade and 1/2 of the oil used, assuming that at least 1/2 of them will remain in the dish and wok during the cooking process. The figures are for 1/4 of the total yield of the recipe.

  • Total calories 167, calories from fat 63
  • Total fat 7 g, saturated fat 1 g
  • Cholesterol 170 mg
  • Sodium 323 mg
  • Total carbs 1 g
  • Protein 1 g

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