Let the freezer be your culinary secret weapon against takeout or cereal for dinner. With a bag of cleaned shrimp and a pound of frozen broccoli stashed away, you can make a savory stir-fry in just about 30 minutes. Sweet shrimp and tender broccoli are tossed in a gingery, garlicky sauce, and a side of steamy, fluffy rice soaks it all up.
This easy stir-fry works with both fresh or frozen broccoli. If you go the frozen route, there’s no need to thaw the broccoli beforehand — just blanch it in the pan before you cook the shrimp, which gives it a head-start while also leaving space on the stove for the pot of rice.
Feel free to use cauliflower in place of broccoli, and don’t worry if you can only find smaller or larger shrimp. Simply adjust the cooking time accordingly, as smaller shrimp cook faster and larger may take a minute or two more.
Easy Shrimp & Veggie Stir-Fry
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
For the shrimp and sauce:
- 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
- 1 to 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted (Asian) sesame oil
- 1 pound uncooked peeled and cleaned medium shrimp (31 to 40 shrimp per pound), thawed if frozen
For the stir-fry:
- 1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium scallion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Steamed rice, for serving (optional)
Make the sauce and marinate the shrimp: Place the tamari or soy sauce, wine or sherry, desired amount of brown sugar, cornstarch, vegetable oil, and sesame oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the sauce to a medium bowl, add the shrimp, and toss to combine; set the shrimp and remaining sauce aside.
Make the stir-fry: Fill a large frying pan or flat-bottomed wok halfway with water, add a generous pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli, cover, and cook, stirring halfway through, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes total. Drain and set aside.
Wipe the pan dry and heat over medium-high until a drop of water vaporizes immediately on contact. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the oil, add the shrimp, and spread into a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate or bowl; the shrimp will not be cooked through at this point.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Return the broccoli and shrimp and any juices to the pan. Re-whisk the reserved sauce and add to the pan. Stir-fry until the shrimp is just cooked through and the sauce is glossy and coats everything in the pan, about 1 1/2 minutes. Top with the scallions and sesame seeds and serve over rice.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Christine Gallary graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, and she has worked at Cook's Illustrated and CHOW.com. She lives in San Francisco and loves teaching cooking classes. Follow her latest culinary escapades on Instagram.