stir fried shrimp on plate

Winter Shrimp Festival: Comfort of the Sea

In Asian by Mike StinesLeave a Comment

It’s winter, and time for comfort foods. Although casseroles and slow-cooked food are always a good choice, shrimp are very versatile and easy to prepare, making them ideal for a somewhat elegant dinner.

stir fried shrimp on plate

With this compilation, the globe is covered; from Asia for Chinese Stir-Fry Shrimp with Asparagus and Chile-Garlic Sauce to New Orleans Shrimp Creole to Jamaican Jerk Shrimp with a detour to Mexico for Chipotle Shrimp. The culinary tour ends in Europe with Crevettes à L’ail similar to the dish served at Café Rouge, a French-themed restaurant group in the United Kingdom.

Stir-Fried Shrimp, Asparagus, Lemon Grass, Onions and Chile-Garlic Sauce

This is almost as close as you can get to authentic Chinese food in North America! The recipe combines marinated shrimp, ginger, garlic, hot chiles, asparagus and lemon grass for a somewhat spicy but extremely flavorful entrée. You could substitute sugar snap peas for the asparagus.


  • 1 pound large (31 – 35 or 26 – 30) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons sake, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
  • Peanut or sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (or two teaspoons dried)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 dried Thai chiles
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about three cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass (about one large stalk)
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions (about three medium scallions)
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and bias-sliced into two-inch pieces
  • Two to four fresh Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Chili-Garlic Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Thai basil, sliced into chiffonade (regular basil, if necessary)


  1. Combine one tablespoon sake, one tablespoon fish sauce and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Mix this mixture until it’s smooth. Place the shrimp in a bowl and add the cornstarch slurry. Stir it to coat. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl some oil in the wok or skillet. Add the ginger, sugar, dried chiles, garlic, lemongrass, and chopped scallions. Stir-fry it all for one minute. Next, add the shrimp; cook, stirring, until the shrimp is slightly charred and barely opaque. It should take about four minutes. Add the asparagus and the remaining fish sauce and sake, then stir-fry for three minutes. Now add the sliced chiles and chow briefly. Add the chili-garlic sauce and toss to combine. Add the basil and serve with steamed rice.

Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium-Hot

Shrimp Creole With An Attitude

Shrimp Creole is a classic dish from Southern Louisiana. Like most Southern recipes, there are a score of different concoctions for it. Basically, it’s shrimp in a rich and piquant tomato-based sauce served over steamed or boiled rice. A key to this recipe is shrimp stock made from the peeled shrimp shells to make a great Creole sauce.

Because making the stock and sauce is time-consuming, I usually make the stock and sauce a day or two ahead and then combine the remaining ingredients the next day. Once the stock and sauce are made, the recipe goes together quickly. The stock and sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for three days. Frozen, they will keep for three months.


1 pound large (31 – 35 or 26 – 30) shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about one cup)
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced (about one cup)
1 rib celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 quart Creole sauce (recipe below)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon smoked kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 cloves garlic, minced (about one teaspoon)
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce or to taste
1 scallion, sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Cooked rice


  1. Peel, tail and devein the shrimp, then rinse them well. Pat them dry with some paper towels and set aside. Reserve the shells and tails for stock. Prepare the shrimp stock (recipe below). When done, make the Creole sauce (recipe below).
  2. In a large skillet heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery; sauté until tender, about five minutes. Add the Creole sauce, sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic and bay leaf; bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 30 minutes or until reduced and thickened.
  3. Dust the shrimp liberally with the Cajun or Creole seasoning and add to the tomato mixture. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the hot sauce, then stir. Cook for five to six minutes or until the shrimp are opaque. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the scallion and parsley. Serve over rice.

Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium

Creole Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about one cup)
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about three cloves)
  • 2 cups shrimp stock (recipe below)
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapeños
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (about one teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked black pepper
  • Hot sauce to taste (I like Crystal or Frank’s)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced (about two tablespoons)


  1. Heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the “Trinity” (onion, celery and bell pepper) and sauté until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Dust the vegetables with the flour and cook, forming a blonde roux. Slowly stir in the room-temperature stock.
  2. Next, add the bay leaves, seasonings, garlic, and tomatoes. Cook the mixture for a couple of minutes.
  3. Bring it to a boil.Lower the heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
  4. Add the hot sauce (I start with one teaspoon and adjust accordingly). Once you have the hot sauce level where you want it, add the Worcestershire, parsley and green onions.
  5. Simmer until the sauce is the correct consistency. It should be tight. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

Shrimp Stock


  • Shells and tails from two pounds of shrimp
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked whole black peppercorns


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a medium-size stock pot. Cover them with chicken stock (about four to six cups).
  2. Bring this mixture to a low boil; reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
  3. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or chinois.

Photo by Horizon Content via Pexels

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Grilling & BBQ Editor | Mike holds a “Doctorate of Barbeque Philosophy” (Ph.B.) degree from the Kansas City Barbeque Society. His book Mastering Barbecue has been called the “go-to” book for BBQ knowledge.

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