Sweet Chili Shrimp

A while back I came across a cookbook called The Chinese Takeout Cookbook. When I first saw the title, my snobbiness took over and I refused to look into it further.

But then I came across the cookbook again, and it got me thinking about the whole idea of Chinese takeout. I don’t do takeout of any kind of food, but if I did, it would be Chinese. I love all of the vegetables and the bean sprouts and the noodles, especially! And who doesn’t love egg rolls!!! Plus, you get it in those adorable little boxes with the handles.

In the U.S., really all we know about Chinese food, at least in my experience, is from little hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants that serve Americanized versions of Chinese food. You know, the breaded, deep-fried everything served with gloppy sauces that all seem to taste the same. (I even had an MSG reaction at one of these restaurants.)

But the thing is, a lot of this food is really good, especially if you know what to order. And until you go to a real Chinatown and have dim sum, like Chinese steamed buns, or happen to have a mother who cooks authentic Chinese, it’s all you know as an American. Just like we all used to think that Italian food was really all about lasagna and spaghetti.

So I decided to buy this cookbook after all, and I’m glad I did. It’s been fun looking over recipes like Kung Pao Chicken, Dan Dan Noodles, Chop Suey, and Egg Foo Young. Remember all of those?!!!

But the first one I decided to make out of the cookbook was Sweet Chili Shrimp because I’d just purchased a pound of beautiful shrimp.

So here is the exact recipe from this cookbook – no MSG required.

Sweet Chili Shrimp

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey*
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons chili sauce

1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 shallot, finely chopped

In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper.

Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, honey, cider vinegar, and chili sauce. Set aside.


Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the garlic, ginger, and shallot and stir-fry until fragrant, 30 to 40 seconds. Toss in the shrimp and stir-fry about 2 minutes, until pink.


Pour in the sauce and stir to coat the shrimp well.


Transfer to a plate and serve.

* I used less honey just because I didn’t want these too sweet.

note: These would also make a fabulous hors d’oeuvre!


The author of this cookbook is Diana Kuan. She is a food writer and cooking instructor who has taught Chinese cooking in Beijing and New York.

By Published On: March 14th, 201324 Comments on Sweet Chili Shrimp

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. bulldog March 14, 2013 at 10:27 AM - Reply

    Oh no.. Oh no.. this does look good…

  2. Our Growing Paynes March 14, 2013 at 11:02 AM - Reply

    This looks great and we love doing a quick stir fry for dinners. I’ll have to try this.

    • chef mimi March 14, 2013 at 3:53 PM - Reply

      I could easily be part of a stir fry!!!

  3. StefanGourmet March 14, 2013 at 12:32 PM - Reply

    This is probably better than what you get at most takeout places. Nice recipe!

    • chef mimi March 14, 2013 at 3:54 PM - Reply

      Thank you so much, Stefan! I’m just starting your sous vide brisket!!!

      • StefanGourmet March 14, 2013 at 4:39 PM

        Great! Smoking it first?

      • chef mimi March 14, 2013 at 6:26 PM

        No. You didn’t say to do that!

      • StefanGourmet March 14, 2013 at 6:41 PM

        Hope there is no mix-up…

      • chef mimi March 14, 2013 at 7:12 PM

        I did the tenderloin last week. Today I’m starting a brisket! No mix-up! I just went by our time/temp suggestion for the brisket, but I didn’t know about smoking first. I could do it afterwards, couldn’t I ?

      • StefanGourmet March 15, 2013 at 4:01 AM

        Glad there is no mix-up! A brisket cooked for 4 hours at 127 degrees would turn out very tough indeed.
        How was the tenderloin? With tenderloin the difference between sous-vide and regular cooking is not as pronounced as with brisket, but it is a great way to cook it uniformly medium rare from edge to edge.

      • chef mimi March 15, 2013 at 9:15 AM

        The tenderloin was amazing. The post will be march 22nd, I think.

      • StefanGourmet March 15, 2013 at 9:47 AM

        Looking forward to that :-)

      • StefanGourmet March 14, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        You asked for a recipe for beef TENDERLOIN sous-vide.
        Now you wrote you were starting sous-vide BRISKET.
        Tenderloin and brisket are very different cuts. The tenderloin only needs to be brought to temperature. The brisket needs 48 hours at 135F to become tender and can be smoked first, see http://stefangourmet.com/2012/12/23/smoked-brisket-sous-vide/.
        I would not smoke a tenderloin first.

  4. Fae's Twist & Tango March 14, 2013 at 1:47 PM - Reply

    It really is amazing with what we have at home we can quickly come up with a delicious and beautiful dish. Thank you for your variation… I like it better. (They ‘are’ beautiful shrimps.)

    • chef mimi March 14, 2013 at 3:54 PM - Reply

      Thanks so much Fae!!! I wish I looked good in hats like you!

      • Fae's Twist & Tango March 15, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        I’m sure you do too! There is a hat or two patiently waiting to be picked by you! :D

  5. ladyredspecs March 14, 2013 at 4:34 PM - Reply

    Yum, love fast and delicious!

  6. lapadia March 15, 2013 at 3:52 AM - Reply

    Delicious recipe! Love your story and I can relate to your MSG experience, just say “no” to that stuff!!

    • chef mimi March 15, 2013 at 9:12 AM - Reply

      It was an instant, strange headache that took a few minutes before it subsided, I remember. absolutely no msg!

  7. denise and sandy March 20, 2013 at 5:21 AM - Reply

    we’ll have to put that book on our wish list!

  8. mamabatesmotel September 25, 2017 at 8:00 PM - Reply

    Reblogged this on mamabatesmotel.

Leave a Reply. I love 'em!