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Spicy Hunan Shrimp served on pottery plate with speckles.

Fiery Hunan Shrimp

Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Seafood, Spicy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 373kcal
Author: Marilyn
Spicy food lovers take note! Here, large shrimp get stir-fried with you blow-your-socks-off Thai chili red sauce. The shrimp are then seared to perfection with ginger, garlic, shallots and authentic Chinese cooking wine for a dish that rocks with flavor.
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Shrimp Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek or other red chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 pound large shrimp (31/35) heads removed

Hunan Sauce

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1-½ teaspoons ground dried Thai chiles see note
  • 1-½ teaspoons granulated sugar

Stir Fry

  • ¼ cup peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • ½ cup diced shallots 1 large or 2 medium shallots
  • 1-½ tablespoons Shaoxing wine Chinese cooking wine


Shrimp Marinade

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the cold water and cornstarch. Add the peanut oil, Shaoxing wine, Sambal Oelek, soy sauce, and white pepper; mixing well. Remove ¼ cup of the mixture and set aside.
  • Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail on. Add the shrimp to the large bowl with the cornstarch mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Hunan Sauce

  • In a small bowl, combine the reserved shrimp marinade, the ketchup, oyster sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, Thai chiles, and sugar. Set aside.

Stir Fry

  • Over high heat, place a wok or large deep skillet for 30 seconds. Add the peanut oil. Swirl the oil in the wok to coat with the oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the ginger and stir 10 seconds. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Lower the heat to medium. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes or until the shallots are softened.
  • Increase the heat to high and stir in the shrimp and the marinade. Arrange shrimp in a single layer and cook, 1 to 2 minutes or until the shrimp begin to turn pink. Turn the shrimp over and stir. Add the wine along the edge of the pan and mix well.
  • Stir the Hunan sauce and pour it over the shrimp. Cook, stirring, for 1-½ minutes or until the shrimp are coated and the sauce begins to bubble.
  • Serve hot.


This dish does not reheat well so I wouldn't recommend storing leftovers or making it ahead of time.
You can easily cut this recipe in half for two servings.
Shrimp loses about 15 percent of it's weight when you remove the shell. So for 1 pound of shrimp with the head already removed, you will end up with a little over ¾ of a pound of shrimp.
31/35 Shrimp refers to the number of shrimp in a pound.
Shaoxing wine: This wine is also called Chinese cooking wine in many dishes. Shaoxing wine is as common as soy sauce in Chinese recipes. It is the 'not-so-secret' ingredient that will take your dish from good to restaurant take-out quality.
Shaoxing substitute: If you don't want to use wine, you can use seafood broth or no-salt-added chicken broth. The dish won't have the depth of flavor but will still be delicious.
Ground Thai Chili is a spicy and flavorful chili that is often used in Asian and South American dishes. If you have not used ground Thai Chili before, start by adding a small amount at a time until the flavor suits your taste. They are blow-your-top-off spicy, so it is better to start with a smaller amount than called for in the recipe and add more as desired. Thai chilies register between 50.000 - 100.000 Scoville units or about 20 times more than Jalapeños.
Finely hopped Ginger and Garlic. I think it is worth pointing out that you really need  to use chopped and not minced. Minced ginger and garlic will turn to a burned mess in a hot wok or skillet. 
  • Feel free to remove the tail when you remove the shell if you prefer.
  • Green Beans: Add 12 ounces frozen green beans to the mixture with the shrimp in step 5.
  • Asparagus: Snap off the tougher ends of the fresh asparagus. Wash and pat dry. Cut the asparagus in to 2-inch pieces. Add the asparagus at the end of step 5.
  • Green Onions: Garnish with sliced green onions before serving.
  • Sesame Seeds: Garnish with sesame seed before serving.


Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 286mg | Sodium: 1281mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 89IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 188mg | Iron: 3mg