Make Ahead

Spiced Shrimp in Lemon-Ginger Sauce

September 25, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This dish is a combination of two recipes. The spiced shrimp is my go-to recipe for a shrimp cocktail, which I learned many years ago from a Chinese cookbook by Sunset. It is delicious, aromatic, and with a pungent cocktail sauce makes a perfect appetizer. I usually make the second recipe, for the Lemon-Ginger Sauce, to serve over roasted or fried fish or chicken, and use chicken or fish stock for the liquid. I have to say that the idea to marry these two recipes and serve it hot as an entrée was a successful and a delicious one. You also can make this recipe with lobster tails, crab, or scallops. It's a saucy way to serve shrimp over pasta, white or brown rice, or just with fresh crusty bread for dipping and enjoying the wonderful sauce. —Kukla

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Kukla is a longtime Food52 member, and she has the swag to show it: twenty-four of her recipes are Community Picks and three of them are Contest Winners.
WHAT: A saucy way to serve shrimp over pasta.
HOW: Simmer shrimp with warm spices to make a stock, and then use that stock to make a lemony sauce. Toss the sauce with the shrimp and sop up every last bit with good bread.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Sauce, sauce, sauce! The shrimp and sauce combo sounded good, but I didn't realize just how good they would be together. You first taste the aromatics in the shrimp, followed by the buttery-lemony sauce, and end with a hit of heat from the cayenne. In order to get the smooth sauce in the photo, I had to strain the lemon-ginger combo after blitzing in the blender. The sauce was so good that I drank what was left in my bowl—all in the name of research, of course. —FrozenFoodie

What You'll Need
  • For the Spiced Shrimp
  • 1 pound large raw shrimp, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 4 whole green onions, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • For the Lemon-Ginger Sauce
  • 2 large lemons, zested, white pith and seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shrimp stock, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh herbs, chopped, for garnish
  1. For the Spiced Shrimp
  2. Wash unpeeled shrimp; place in a small pan. Add all the other ingredients and barely cover with water, bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer just until shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes.
  3. Cool in this stock; then remove, peel, and devein. Return to stock, cover, and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, strain, discard the aromatics, and save the liquid for the sauce.
  1. For the Lemon-Ginger Sauce
  2. Place lemon and ginger slices in a blender; add lemon zest and 1/2 cup of the shrimp stock. Purée until smooth.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat; add the puréed lemon-ginger mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the remaining 1/2 cup shrimp stock, sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper; simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes. Blend the cornstarch with water; pour into saucepan and cook, stirring until sauce bubbles and thickens slightly.
  5. Mix in butter and then the drained shrimp to the sauce. Simmer for 30 seconds, just until the shrimp is warmed through. Sprinkle with any fresh herbs of your choice and serve over steamed white or brown rice, over pasta, or just with fresh crusty bread for dipping and enjoying the delicious sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jeanne Wilkins
    Jeanne Wilkins
  • QueenSashy
  • Kukla
  • Chef Lisa
    Chef Lisa
  • Diana Nemirovsky
    Diana Nemirovsky

22 Reviews

Jeanne W. March 26, 2020
Oh my my, this is so very good! I used minced lemon drop peppers vs cayenne, which add top the citrus flavor. They are hotter than cayenne, and their burn is very late, so be careful, but totally worth it. That can be a bit hard to find, but they are so easy to grow! We get about 3 gallons of peppers per plant. Anyway, this is one of our new favorite recipes!
OMDClementine December 29, 2019
Liked this and see good potential for this recipe, but agreed that it was a bit too tart. (Maybe depends on the lemons one is using). I added almost a second T of sugar, which I think helped. Next time, I will use zest from just one lemon instead of both and will increase the ginger, which largely got lost. Having marinated the shrimp overnight, I did get a nice taste of star anise. Very nice recipe.
sbweaver October 31, 2019
We love lemon and ginger so this seemed like an ideal recipe. And it was delicious, with one drawback: the shrimp was over cooked. Ideally I would peel the shrimp put the shells into the broth recipe, let that simmer, then put the shrimp into that delicous ginger/lemon sauce for 3 to 4 minutes.
Josie M. May 2, 2016
This sauce had too strong of a lemon taste for us- maybe I didn't cook it enough.
draya3 December 5, 2017
Made this tonight and I totally agree. I figure I must have done something wrong because I have never thrown shrimp away before, but the sauce was SO tart. I was hoping to taste a hint of the star anise, too.
chop C. June 20, 2015
I just got through with having dinner having made this dish. Bravo, bravo! It is a most excellent guest worthy dish which I put on top of some basmati rice with some basil, chives, and a little bit of fennel as the herb garnish. My wife raved about it. My brother and his wife are visiting from out of town next weekend and I am having two other couples over for dinner. This will be the main event. This will go into a fairly frequent rotation and is not hard to make.
Kukla June 20, 2015
Thank you so, so very much chop chop for your wonderful comment!!!
I am glad that you and your wife enjoyed this dish!
QueenSashy June 11, 2015
Bravo Kukla -- yet another great recipe!!!
Kukla June 11, 2015
Thank you so much QueenSashy!!
Kukla June 10, 2015
A Big thanks to FrozenFoodie for testing and reviewing my recipe!!!
Chef L. June 10, 2015
Well done! Congrats! Love your recipes!
Kukla June 10, 2015
Thanks a million chef Liza!!!
Maya June 6, 2015
Made this dish-perfect taste, easy to make. My whole family loved it
Kukla June 6, 2015
Thanks a lot Maya!! I am so glad you made and liked this recipe!!
Lynnette June 6, 2015
Great recipe. I hope you'll win
Kukla June 6, 2015
Thank you so much Lynnette for the kind comment!
Diana N. June 5, 2015
Mouthwatering from your shrimps!!!!! Great dish!
Kukla June 5, 2015
Thanks a lot my dear friend!!!
Jenny G. June 4, 2015
This recipe looks beautiful. Congrats on being a finalist!
Kukla June 4, 2015
Congratulations to you too Jenny! I am very glad and honored to compete in the finals with a professional chef!
drbabs September 26, 2012
This sounds wonderful!
Kukla September 26, 2012
Thanks a lot drbabs!