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You Bao Xia Shanghai-Style Shrimp {油爆虾}

Classic Shanghai Shrimp Stir-Fry

by Shirley
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You Bao Xia Shanghai-Style Shrimp {油爆虾} recipe

You Bao Xia {油爆虾} is a well-liked classic Shanghai-style food, featuring pan-fried shrimp with crispy shells splashed with a semi-sweet savory sauce. Traditionally, Shanghai-style shrimp uses wild-caught lake or river fresh shrimps which used to be bountiful in China’s Yangtze River Delta area where Shanghai is located. These freshwater wild-caught shrimp tend to be smaller with softer shells. The way it cooks the shrimp is leaving both the head and shell on.

Therefore, this Shanghai-Style Shrimp Stir-Fry is especially suitable for shrimp with soft shells and contains roe. Shrimp roe is a delicacy that usually gets wasted, but not with this Shanghai Shrimp Stir Fry. When you cook the shrimp head-on and shell-on, you got to keep the roe and enjoy this yumminess.

Shanghai Style Shrimp You Bao Xia Recipe

What is Shanghai-Style Shrimp You Bao Xia {油爆虾}?

Literally translates as oil-exploded shrimp, Shanghai-Style Shrimp Stir Fry You Bao Xia has crispy shells wrapped in a semi-sweet savory sauce. The sake, light soy sauce, and sugar along with the fresh herbs including green onion, ginger, and minced garlic make an extremely yummy sauce.

Shanghai Style Shrimp Ingredients

It is worth mentioning that I use sake as a cooking wine for seafood. Sake has a clear, refreshing flavor and taste that goes well with the seafood.

How to prepare Shrimp for cooking Shanghai Style Shrimp?

As mentioned, you don’t need to remove the head and shell for Shanghai-style shrimp. It is a tradition to leave both on. However, it would be great if you trim the shrimp neat and then de-vein the bottom part of the shrimp.

trim and devein whole shrimp how to

A kitchen scissor is very handy to trim and remove the legs and antennae. I also use it to open the centerline to remove the veins.

Wash and rinse the cleaned shrimp multiple times and let it air dry before pan frying.

How to cook Shanghai-style Shrimp You Bao Xia?

The first thing first is to prepare the stir-fried sauce and herbs

This delicious Chinese shrimp requires very limited basic ingredients. For one pound of shrimp, add 1 tbsp sake, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, and 1/2 tbsp sugar along with 1/2 tbsp water to a small bowl and whisk well to mix. This is the base of the stir-fry sauce.

Fresh herbs green onion, garlic, and ginger work magically together to enhance the flavor. Mince garlic and ginger into super small pieces if you can.

You Bao Xia {Shanghai Shrimp Stir Fry} Recipe Ingredients

Secondly, Pan Fry Shrimp

Pan-fry the shrimp until they are fully cooked. You can pan-fry one pound of shrimp in a 12-inch hard anodized frying pan using about 1/4 cup of oil. Avocado oil is my go-to frying oil. Not only avocado oil is super nutritious, but it also has a very high smoking point, and is light & odorless.

pan fry shrimp in the frying pan

Lastly, Stir Fry Shrimp with herbs and stir-fry sauce

Remove the cooked shrimp from the frying pan, and only leave a tiny bit of oil in the oil for the stir fry. I usually save the avocado oil from pan-frying the shrimp in a small glass jar for later everyday cooking. By the way, the oil may look red if the shrimp contains loads of shrimp roe.

pan fried shrimp ready for Shanghai Shrimp Stir Fry

Add the chopped green onion, minced ginger & garlic to the frying pan. Fold and mix until fragrant and then add the previously pan-fried shrimp. Use a slotted turner to turn, fold and mix for about 1 minute before adding the stir-fry sauce. Turn, fold, and mix everything well together. A silicon spatula helps to easily scrape the sauce off the pan and fold it into the shrimp. All done! Enjoy a naturally yummy Shanghai-Style Shrimp Stir-Fry You Bao Xia {油爆虾}.

You Bao Xia Shanghai-Style Shrimp {油爆虾} recipe
You Bao Xia Shanghai-Style Shrimp {油爆虾} recipe

You Bao Xia Shanghai-Style Shrimp {油爆虾} Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

You Bao Xia {油爆虾} is a well-liked classic Shanghai-style food, featuring pan-fried shrimp with crispy shells splashed with a semi-sweet savory sauce. So naturally yummy and easy to make at home.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb shrimp, head on and shell on, soft shell shrimp with roe is preferred
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil, additional 3 tbsp for pan frying. {a total of 1/4 cup}
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 stalks of green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic

For Stir Fry Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp cane sugar or brown sugar, organic unrefined preferred
  • 1/2 tbsp water

Instructions

Prep Work:

  • Use a kitchen scissor to trim the legs, antennae, and the tip of the head which is pointy. I also use it to open the centerline to remove the veins. Shrimp has two veins on top and bottom respectively. For this recipe, only remove the bottom one for better presentation.
    trim and devein whole shrimp how to
  • After you've trimmed all shrimp, wash and rinse well a few times and set aside to drain the water.
    Shanghai Style Shrimp Ingredients
  • Chop green onion into small pieces, and mince ginger and garlic into fine pieces. I usually use a compact food processor to do the job.
  • Add everything under "For Stir Fry Sauce" into a small bowl and set aside.

Pan Fry the Shrimp:

  • Turn the heat to medium and heat a 12-inch hard anodized frying pan for 2 minutes before adding about 1/4 cup of avocado oil. Lay the shrimp flat in the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Then flip the shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes.
    pan fry shrimp in the frying pan
  • Following that, flip the shrimp every 30 seconds till the shrimp is fully cooked, about 4-5 minutes.
    pan fry the whole shrimp in the hard anodized fry-pan
  • Remove the shrimp and place them on a plate. If there is lots of oil left in the frying pan, wait for it to cool a little bit and pour it into a glass jar for later use. Just leave a little bit of oil in the frying pan for the stir fry.
    pan fried shrimp ready for Shanghai Shrimp Stir Fry
  • Turn the heat to medium-high and add the chopped green onion, minced ginger & garlic, stir fry for about 15 seconds or till fragrant.
    stir fry green onion, garlic and ginger in a frying pan until fragrant
  • Add the shrimp to the pan, toss and mix using a pair of bamboo spatulas for about 2 minutes and then pour in the stir-fry sauce in a circular motion. Continue to toss and mix for another minute or so.
    You Bao Xia Shanghai-Style Shrimp {油爆虾} recipe
  • All done! Enjoy a naturally yummy Shanghai-Style You Bao Xia!
    Shanghai Style Shrimp You Bao Xia Recipe

Notes

  • Shanghai-Style Shrimp You Bao Xia usually is served as a cold appetizer traditionally. For instance, they are great to add to a noodle soup topping straight from the refrigerator. They are also perfect for a party.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 345Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 268mgSodium 1367mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 31g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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