Spicy Wok-Fried Shrimp

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • serves

    4 to 6

    as an appetizer

Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

This is a great party food that requires you to dig in and peel the shrimp, and of course, lick your fingers. Be sure to have lots of paper napkins on hand. I highly recommend seeking out the Sichuan peppercorns (not really pepper) called for. Their fragrant spiciness is really unique. If you can’t find them, use any regular pepper.


  • ¾ pound large (16-20 size) shrimp in their shell
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons toasted Sichuan peppercorns, ground
  • teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped hot red chiles, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


Clean each shrimp by cutting through the back with a pair of kitchen shears or a knife and removing the intestinal vein. Leave the shell on but pull off the feathery legs. Brine if you like. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Plunge the shrimp into the simmering water for 10 to 15 seconds, and then drain them and run them under cold water to stop any further cooking. Pat dry and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the salt, peppercorns, and sugar and set aside. In another bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, scallions, and chiles. Heat the olive oil in a wok over high heat. Add the salt mixture and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the shrimp and the garlic mixture and continue to stir-fry until the shrimp are just cooked through and the spices coat the shell, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil and garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds, if desired. Serve immediately.

Garnish if you like with finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and toasted sesame seeds