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Stir-fried Shrimp with Lobster Sauce: A Delicious Chinese-American Classic

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Stir-fried Shrimp with Lobster Sauce is a beloved dish in Chinese-American cuisine, renowned for its rich, savory sauce and succulent shrimp. Despite its name, the dish doesn’t typically contain lobster but derives its name from the flavorful sauce that resembles the richness of a lobster-based sauce. This dish exemplifies the fusion of Chinese cooking techniques with Western ingredients and flavors, creating a dish that’s both comforting and full of flavor.

Culinary Heritage and Significance

Stir-fried Shrimp with Lobster Sauce is a staple on many Chinese-American restaurant menus, reflecting the adaptation of traditional Chinese ingredients and flavors to suit Western palates. The sauce, characterized by its velvety texture and umami depth, typically includes ingredients like ground pork, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sometimes fermented black beans. This dish showcases the Chinese emphasis on balance—combining savory, sweet, and salty flavors to create a harmonious culinary experience.

Ingredients

To prepare Stir-fried Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, gather the following ingredients:

For the Sauce:

  • Chicken Broth: 1 cup
  • Cornstarch: 1 tbsp, dissolved in 2 tbsp water
  • Soy Sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Oyster Sauce: 1 tbsp
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
  • Salt: To taste

For the Stir-fry:

  • Shrimp: 1 lb (about 450g), peeled and deveined
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, minced
  • Ginger: 1-inch piece, minced
  • Ground Pork: 1/4 lb (about 115g)
  • Vegetable Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Green Onions (Scallions): 2, thinly sliced (for garnish)
  • Black Pepper: 1/2 tsp
  • White Pepper: 1/4 tsp (optional, for added heat)
  • Egg: 1, beaten (optional, for a richer sauce)

Preparation and Cooking Instructions

  1. Prepare the Sauce:
    • In a bowl, mix together chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and salt.
    • Dissolve cornstarch in water to create a slurry.
    • Stir the cornstarch slurry into the sauce mixture until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the Shrimp:
    • Pat dry peeled and deveined shrimp with paper towels.
    • Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir-fry the Ingredients:
    • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
    • Add minced garlic and ginger, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
    • Add ground pork to the skillet, breaking it up with a spatula. Cook until pork is browned and cooked through.
  4. Cook the Shrimp:
    • Push the pork mixture to the side of the skillet.
    • Add shrimp in a single layer and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side until they turn pink and opaque.
  5. Combine and Thicken:
    • Stir the sauce mixture again to ensure the cornstarch is well incorporated.
    • Pour the sauce over the shrimp and pork mixture in the skillet.
    • Stir gently to combine all ingredients evenly.
    • If using, pour the beaten egg over the mixture and stir quickly to create ribbons of egg in the sauce.
  6. Finish and Garnish:
    • Continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens and coats the shrimp and pork.
    • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
    • Garnish with thinly sliced green onions (scallions) for freshness and color.
  7. Serve:
    • Transfer Stir-fried Shrimp with Lobster Sauce to a serving platter.
    • Serve hot over steamed rice or noodles.

Tips for Perfect Stir-fried Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

  • Shrimp Preparation: Ensure shrimp are peeled, deveined, and patted dry to prevent excess moisture during cooking.
  • Sauce Consistency: Adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding more or less cornstarch slurry, depending on your preference.
  • Flavor Enhancement: For an extra layer of flavor, add a dash of sesame oil or a splash of Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing wine) to the sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Stir-fried Shrimp with Lobster Sauce can be served:

  • As a Main Dish: Pair with steamed jasmine rice or egg noodles for a complete meal.
  • With Vegetables: Serve alongside steamed broccoli, bok choy, or snap peas for added nutrition and color.
  • For Special Occasions: Ideal for family gatherings or dinner parties, showcasing the comforting flavors of Chinese-American cuisine.

Nutritional Benefits

  • Shrimp: Low in calories and rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium, supporting heart health and muscle growth.
  • Pork: Provides essential vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc, promoting immune function and overall well-being.
  • Vegetables and Sauce: Contribute dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, aiding digestion and supporting immune health.

Conclusion

Stir-fried Shrimp with Lobster Sauce offers a delightful blend of savory shrimp, flavorful ground pork, and a rich, velvety sauce—a testament to the fusion of Chinese and Western culinary influences. By following this recipe, you can recreate a dish that captures the essence of Chinese-American cuisine’s comforting flavors and aromatic spices, offering a taste of tradition with every delicious bite. Whether enjoyed at home or in a restaurant setting, Stir-fried Shrimp with Lobster Sauce promises to satisfy with its savory richness, cultural significance, and culinary appeal, inviting you on a flavorful journey through the heart of Chinese-American cooking.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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