The Secret Ingredient (Ginger Jam): Ginger Shrimp Recipe

Kerry Saretsky

There is nothing like Chinese shrimp—or, at least the shrimp you get in American Chinese restaurants. They have the lightest crispy coating on the outside, and then that thick, flavors-from-all-directions sauce that clings to it like sweet, spicy, savory glue; orange peel, honey, ginger. And a secret to doing it at home, thus saving yourself the tip for takeout, is ginger jam.

In one pot, I quickly fried the cornstarch-coated shrimp. In another pot, off to the side, I bubbled together ginger jam and soy sauce. Toss the two together, top with some cilantro and scallion, and it's like takeout times ten.

My favorite Secret Ingredients are the ones that multitask, dealing with all life's troubles for you. Ginger jam is one such example. Add it to the soy sauce, and immediately the sauce takes on the heady heat of the ginger, and the balancing sweetness of the sugar. The thickness gives you that perfect consistency. Leaving you looking like a culinary magician.

Recipe Facts



Active: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins
Serves: 2 to 4 servings

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  • 12 15-18 count shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails attached
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger jam
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Chopped scallion, for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving


  1. Lightly coat the shrimp with the cornstarch. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Sear the shrimp in batches on both sides for a total of 2 1/2 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepot, heat the ginger jam and soy sauce over medium heat for minute. Toss the shrimp in the sauce, and top with chopped scallion and fresh cilantro.