Happy Shrimp Stir Fry

A favorite dish for Chinese New Year, shrimp stir-fried in a sauce of ketchup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and broth, and served on a bed of lettuce.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


For the sauce (mix together in a bowl)

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

For the shrimp

  • 1 pound raw shrimp, deveined
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or peanut cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced green onion
  • Handful of shredded iceberg lettuce


1 Toss shrimp with cornstarch: Pat the shrimp very dry and place them in a bowl. Toss with the cornstarch.

2 Fry in hot pan 1 minute each side: Heat a wok or large frying pan on high heat until a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates upon contact.

Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the cornstarch coated shrimp to the wok and spread out in one layer. Let fry untouched for 1 minute.

Flip and fry other side for another minute. Remove the shrimp from the frying pan, keeping as much oil in the pan as possible.

3 Fry garlic and ginger: Return the pan to the stove. Add an additional teaspoon of cooking oil to the pan if needed. When the pan is hot, turn the heat to medium and add the garlic and the ginger and fry for 15-30 seconds until fragrant.

4 Add sauce and shrimp: Pour in the sauce mixture and bring to boil. Add the cooked shrimp back into the wok and let simmer for an additional minute until the shrimp are cooked through.

Serve on bed of shredded lettuce and top with garnish of sliced green onions.

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  • Chef Rover

    Jaden & Elise! – Thank you for this recipe!! Been cooking it now for many years and its always a winner no matter who is invited! Kids included!

  • Suzanne

    Really like this. Reminds me of a Gan Shao I used to get at a restaurant that I haven’t found anywhere else since it closed down…

  • Beth Bilous

    How would I substitute chicken for the shrimp in this recipe please.

    Hmmm. You could try it with thin strips of chicken tenders. No idea how it will turn out. ~Elise

  • Hazel

    Made these tonight – early celebration for Lunar New Year. :) Added stir-fried broccoli instead of iceberg lettuce and it was delicious. Next time I think I’ll replace a third of the ketchup with some Sriracha sauce to add a bit of kick.

  • GwendolynShea

    My fiance and I both love this dish! I tried it out today, and while it wasn’t nearly as crispy as yours looks, maybe I need more cornstarch? I dunno, I’ll have to try it out and see. My fiance has demanded I make this on a regular basis, so I’ll have plenty of time to experiment!

  • Jill

    My favorite dish ever! I make on a monthly basis…best shrimp recipe I have ever had! THANKS!

  • Jilly83

    The smell that you get in your house when making this dish is AMAZING! My husband loves this recipe, and so do I. It is one of our favorites and I will be making this for years to come. If you are unsure, just make it! You will not be sorry. I add a little black pepper and cayenne pepper for a little kick and use more garlic because we love garlic!

  • Jilly83

    Absolutely wonderful!! So easy and sooo delicious. My husband loved this. I am going to be making it again. I added a little salt, black pepper, and cayenne because we like spicy foods. Thank you for this recipe Jaden & good luck with your cookbook. I will be buying it!

  • amber renee

    Ohhhh! Submitted this site to stumble upon — GREAT post. I had Happy Shrimp for dinner and it was perfect!

  • Abigail

    This recipe is probably the best shrimp recipe I have ever made! I would put twice as much ginger as what is called for, and just for a variation, I think it would be good with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

  • Lindsay

    I made a couple of days ago, and unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be making it again. The ketchup flavor was too pronounced for my taste (even though I followed the recipe exactly, and used a regular nationally available ketchup brand). It wasn’t bad, exactly… it just wasn’t good, either. Sorry.

  • corinna

    I just wanted to tell you that this is one of my family’s favorite’s. I’ve had to make it twice in one week they loved it so much. If you have any more shrimp recipes i’d love to have them. Thanks for sharing, Corinna

  • LGarrison

    Hello Jaden and Elsie,

    I actually made these a couple of weekends ago and my whole family loved it (except for my son because he was not feeling well). I doubled the recipe and it turned out great. The mistake I made was buying the shrimp with it’s shell on. What a bummer :0 So, tonight, I am going to make them again (without the shell) and I am excited. This is really a great recipe! Jaden please keep your recipes coming (of course Elsie I totally love all of your recipes:)



  • Cara

    I LOVED this recipe. It was so simple to make, and my BF could NOT figure out what was in the sauce until I told him. I made this with some veggie fried rice, it was fantastic! Thanks for a great recipe. I’m trying to get more into Chinese cooking, and these recipes are easy enough that I can try things to see what I like and don’t like. Thanks again!

  • Ruth

    Very disappointed in this recipe. Sorry.

  • Kari

    I made this tonight for myself and my boyfriend. He was in charge of assembling the sauce, and some Sriracha found its way in there because he loves his food spicy. I also tossed in a few bits of broccoli and snow peas because we don’t eat enough veggies around here. Thankfully the additions didn’t harm the dish – we LOVED it! Thank you so much for your recipes, Jaden, they make this white girl feel like she can actually cook Asian food :).

  • Ellen

    Hey out there in blog land-when will poor little rice oil get some due in high temperature cooking. This recipe looks great and I will be making it tomorrow. Thanks Jaden and Elise-enjoy both of your writings and recipes!

    Rice oil, grapeseed oil, tea seed oil, all great for high temp cooking. Good alternatives to canola oil, though a bit harder to come by. ~Elise

  • Carol

    Oh my god, hooray for Happy Shrimp! Simply divine. I love shrimp, but even more now. For the last 3 days I have been making them for my friends and coworkers they all love it.. Praise and praise up the oiseau! Did not change anything, did it exactly. Again, simply wonderful, divine., to me purrrfect. Thank you and thank you to your mom. Happy new year.

  • Paula

    We had this wonderful dish for dinner last night with jasmine rice and stir fried snow peas flavored with garlic and ginger. The shrimp are absolutely delicious. The sauce is divine. We’re bound to have a happy and prosperous New Year as a result! Thanks very much for providing the recipe.

  • Lu

    Question for Jaden: This recipe looks great. My question is that I do indeed use peanut oil for stir fry. But, I am wondering if avocado oil can be used as an alternate since it, too, has a high heat point. Thanks!!

    Yes, you can use avocado oil. It’s pretty expensive, no? ~jaden

  • Gail

    This was well received, even by my fussy teenager. I added some asparagus that I needed to use up, and served it with Jasmine rice, yum!

  • Jeanine

    Sounds great! Some questions: Did you leave the shells on? Are you supposed to eat the shells afterwards or remove them? I’ve had dishes in restaurants where it seemed as though we were intended to eat the shells, but they were too tough–can you still make the dish with shelled shrimp?


    Yes, I love shell on shrimp! But of course it’s a personal preference. Feel free to use shell on or shell off. ~jaden

  • sandy

    Great recipe! I made it last night with many snide comments about the addition of ketchup, but o my, no leftovers! thanks!

  • Paul

    Does the sauce call for raw sesame or toasted sesame oil? Even a tsp. makes a big difference in terms of flavor.

    Toasted! ~jaden

  • Karen

    I made this tonight in honor of Chinese New Year. It was fantastic. My family loved it. Good thing I doubled the recipe! The lettuce was a great addition and complimented the shrimp perfectly. I’d love to know what other dishes your Mom would serve with this dish. Thanks for sharing this fun recipe. Hee-Hee-Haa-Haa indeed!

    Gong Hay Fat Choy!

  • Nate

    Very simple recipe!

    Jaden, didn’t I read somewhere that you liked to start your garlic in cold oil, to let the garlic flavor infuse the oil better or something?

    Yes, but it depends on what I’m cooking and how strong of a garlic/ginger flavor I want. For vegetables, definitely start cold oil, cold wok. ~jaden

  • Trish in MO

    I love when you visit, Jaden! I am always interested in learning about new cultures and traditions, especially Asian ones, so I am glad you included some of that insight to the dish for us as well!

    We all love shrimp in my family, so this is definitely a MUST DO!

    QUESTION: Jaden, can the shredded iceburg kettuce be substituted with something else, without ruining the integrity of the dish?