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Szechuan Shrimp

I always crave Chinese take-out on Sundays.

Without fail, I’m laying around the house, thinking it’s Saturday, getting all psyched up for sticky white rice and spicy shrimp. 

And then I call, and it rings and rings, and I realize it’s Sunday and they’re closed. 

It’s Sunday and they’re closed and I have to eat stupid other food that I don’t even want. 

Or, you know, learn to make it myself, whatever

Szechuan Shrimp with white rice in a bowl.

Sometimes recreating complicated recipes is hard, not only in practice, but also on the wallet. 

It involves buying things you may not use again, or before it spoils, and that sucks when money is tight. One Pinterest recipe should not cost you a whole paycheck. 

No shame in being on a budget, and there’s no shame in this quick version of Szechuan Shrimp made from easy ingredients you already have.

Szechuan shrimp ingredients: shrimp, ketchup, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, corn starch, onion, red pepper, cayenne pepper.

Ketchup, honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper are the base of this sauce. Everything else is an absolute bonus, so don’t let not having these things detour you. 

Even the ginger, I buy it and use it forever. It’s probably expired, but I haven’t died, so I’m just going with it. 

As for the shrimp, I always keep bags of raw shrimp in my freezer. You can use pre-cooked shrimp, but it just gets so rubbery. 

Raw shrimp cooks in a matter of minutes and tastes amazing, so start buy this instead. 

Thinly sliced onion and red peppers.

You can use any pepper in this dish, but red pepper is perfection because the sweetness balances the spiciness from the cayenne pepper. 

Same thought process with the onion, slice them both up into pieces you can eat with a fork. 

Szechuan sauce with honey, ketchup, garlic and ginger.

The sauce for this dish is super customizable!

I like my food to come with a sweat mustache, so I add more cayenne pepper, but if you are a mild soul, by all means, cut it down, friend.

After you mix all the sauce together, scoop out about 4 tablespoons of sauce into a small bowl, and mix it with about a tablespoon of corn starch. This makes a slurry that you’ll add to the sauce when it comes to a boil to thicken it up a bit. 

The rest of the prep here happens in a big wok. 

Let me tell you, I find the best cookware at TJ Maxx and Aldi. The prices are amazing, and it’s always awesome. My wok is from Aldi and it’s huge. 

When you’re just starting out, it’s natural to get that big box-o-cookware and think that’s good. Bypass that, and just go buy the pieces you’ll actually use, and you’ll spend so much less. 

I lube up my wok with Sesame Oil because it adds extra flavor!

Sauté onions and red peppers in a large wok.

When you’re cooking these things, keep in mind, you aren’t cooking it down to a soft mush. Cook it through enough to take the bite out of the onion, but keep it otherwise crisp and delicious. 

Shrimp, onions and red peppers sautéed in a large wok.

Now everything is gonna move real fast, add in that thawed raw shrimp, fry it up until it’s pink.

Shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes. 

Note, I butterfly my shrimp by cutting them (not all the way through) from head to tail before cooking. 

They taste better, and that’s a fact. 

Once the shrimp is pink, pour in the sauce, and bring to a boil. 

Once boiling, pour in that corn starch slurry, and stir it around a few minutes until it thickens the sauce. 

I serve my Szechuan Shrimp over Jasmine Rice, and top it with sesame seeds. 

Szechuan shrimp with white rice in a bowl with chopsticks.

Sunday cravings, handled. 

Szechuan Shrimp with white rice in a bowl.

Szechuan Shrimp

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This simple Szechuan Shrimp is flavorful, quick, and easy on the wallet!


  • 12 oz Shrimp, raw or precooked thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced
  • 4 minced cloves of garlic
  • 8 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds


  1. In a bowl, stir together water, ketchup, soy sauce, honey, ground red pepper, garlic and ground ginger.
  2. Reserve 4 tbsp of sauce in a small bowl, and mix with cornstarch to create a slurry. Set both sauces aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large walk, and cook onions until slightly softer and heated through.
  4. Add sliced red pepper, and cook until tender but crisp.
  5. Add shrimp, and cook until pink.
  6. Add large bowl of sauce, and bring to a boil.
  7. Once boiling, add slurry of sauce and corn starch, allow to boil for 5 minutes, until thickened.
  8. Serve over white sticky rice.

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