The Secret Ingredient (Marmalade): Orange Peel Shrimp

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

For all that I write about on this site, you might think that my grandmother and I sit around plucking escargots every time we meet for lunch. But our true tradition is a hedonistic Chinese lunch, with fortune cookie reading-aloud time for dessert. And while some of our other dishes may change depending on the week, the one thing we always order is orange peel shrimp: sweet, spicy, savory, and tart all at once, it's meaty and perfect and the kind of thing I always thought I could never in a million years recreate at home.

How wrong I was.

Thanks to the miracle of marmalade, a sweet-tart orange jam full of bitter citrus rind, I have come up with such an easy version, using stuff I always have on hand: frozen shrimp, honey, soy sauce, garlic. The sauce comes together in 3 minutes, and the shrimp in another 2. I serve the intensely flavored shrimp with plain white rice.

What makes marmalade such a perfect secret ingredient is twofold: flavor, and texture. One jar of high-quality marmalade combines bitterness and sweetness in a classic, time-tested balance that takes a lot of experience to achieve in kitchen. And the texture allows a certain stickiness in the sauce. In short, I imagine making this recipe without marmalade would require a lot more kitchen finesse than making it with it. And armed with this recipe, this week I can invite Mémé over to my house, instead of meeting her out at a restaurant. Now, if only I could master fortune cookies.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.

The Secret Ingredient (Marmalade): Orange Peel Shrimp

About This Recipe

Active time:20 minutes
Total time:20 minutes


  • 2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the angle, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons of honey (preferably orange blossom)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, plus 6 tablespoons
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 pounds 11-15 count shrimp, peeled and deveined, dried on a paper towel


  1. 1

    Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in small skillet over medium heat. When oil just shimmers, add garlic, scallions, red pepper flakes, and orange zest and cook until fragrant, less than a minute.

  2. 2

    Immediately add marmalade, honey, and soy sauce to skillet. Allow to bubble for 1 minutes.

  3. 3

    Meanwhile, use small whisk to combine the fresh orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch in small bowl. Add slurry to skillet and whisk continuously for 1 final minute until sauce is thick. Set aside.

  4. 4

    Toss dry shrimp with remaining cornstarch and pinch of salt. Heat remaining canola oil in wok over medium heat until lightly smoking. Fry shrimp six at a time until orange, curled, and slightly crisp, about 2 minutes, turning once half way through cooking. Drain on paper towel. Repeat for all 4 batches. Add more oil if necessary.

  5. 5

    Toss shrimp with orange sauce. Garnish with fresh scallions and orange zest. Serve with plain white rice.


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