Ketchup Shrimp Stir-Fry

November 13, 2022

Ketchup Shrimp and I go way back in history. My mother used to prepare this dish, which is pronounced “cure jup ha” in the Cantonese language, for special occasions and holidays. Cure jup, in case you haven’t guessed, is just a phonetic repetition of “ketchup” in the Cantonese language.

Since we enjoyed a more humble lifestyle back then, I looked forward to the few occasions when we could afford to eat large, fresh shrimp. In addition, it stands to reason that any dish prepared with a generous help of ketchup will be a hit with children.

This dish of delicious shrimp wrapped in a tangy and savory sauce of stir-fried ketchup and soy sauce was a confirmation of that. Something I could only have at home, and it was delicious! Try this easy, comforting family dish, and I think you’ll agree.


Before delving into the recipe, I want to make a short note that, in my opinion, frozen shrimp is always the best option unless you can get freshly caught shrimp that has not yet been frozen.

For those who are unaware, shrimp are often cleaned and frozen soon after being captured. It is better to buy shrimp that has been frozen fresh and thaw them only once. Since the thawed shrimp in the market have likely been sitting on the ice for the better part of the day, if not several days, buying them can be a gamble.

To make matters worse, you probably shouldn’t eat them if they’ve been thawed and frozen many times. Take my word for it!


  • 12 ounces of large, shell-on headless shrimp
  • 7 slices of fresh ginger (cut ⅛-inch thick)
  • 2 scallions (cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • ¼ cup of ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon of white pepper


  1. Shrimp, if frozen, should be thawed and then rinsed under running water. Dry well with a paper towel. You can remove the shells for easier eating if you choose, but I recommend leaving the tails on so that they can provide flavor when cooked in a wok.
  2. A tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil should be heated in a wok until it begins to smoke. Fry the shrimp for 20 seconds per side (15 if the shells have been removed), and then remove from the pan. To ensure that the shrimp are fully done, cook them for around eight minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add another tablespoon of oil to the wok. To the oil, add the seven slices of ginger and let it sit for 15 seconds.
  4. Put in a few garlic slices and the scallion whites. Stir-fry the ingredients for 10 seconds at medium-high heat.
  5. Put in a quarter cup of ketchup and a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. Fry for about 15 seconds after stirring in the oil.
  6. Next, add the shrimp and their fluids to the pan, along with 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and stir for 10 more seconds. So long as the sauce is still reducing and coating the shrimp, you should keep stirring. Finish by mixing in the remaining scallions (the green parts).
  8. Give it another 10 seconds of stirring, and then put it in a serving dish. White rice and a side of vegetables go well with this ketchup shrimp. Be mindful of this ketchup shrimp’s versatility if you’re planning on creating other meals in a wok for the table, as it may be enjoyed either hot or at room temperature.
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