Quick and Easy Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Quick and Easy Sweet and Sour Shrimp

My Quick and Easy Sweet and Sour Shrimp makes the perfect mid-week meal.  Just when you’re flagging and starting to long for the weekend, this recipe will get you there in style.

This recipe is a keeper.  Ever since I came up with it more than ten years ago, it’s one I come back to again and again, and not just mid-week.  This is one of my Friday night favourites too, done in minutes, it’s so much tastier, and in fact quicker than calling out for a greasy take-away.  Great whether you’re on your own, cosy for two, and classy enough to make for a dinner party. It reminds me a lot of the kind of food I ate during my Malaysian trip too.

I promise you, if you like your shrimp (or prawns I really should say being Scottish), you’ll enjoy this one. 

Recipe for Quick and Easy Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Preparation Time:  Less than10 minutes
Time: Less than 10 minutes
Serves: 4


For the Stir fry
2 tbsp sunflower oil (or other flavourless oil)
1 red chilli chopped finely (optional – I like a bit of spice with my sweet and sour)
3 garlic cloves chopped finely
A thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
550gr / 1.2 lb shrimp (jumbo prawns), raw, but peeled, deveined and cleaned
1 pak choi (or 2 baby pak choi)
4 spring onions (scallions) chopped to about 1 cm / 0.5in. pieces
Some fresh coriander (cilantro) roughly chopped to dress

For the Sauce
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar if you don’t have the rice version)
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp Shao Xing rice wine (Optional, in the sense that if you don’t have it, don’t go out and buy is specially.  Remember, this is an easy, relaxed recipe.)


  1. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl, taste it to check if you like the balance of flavour and adjust if you wish.  Set this aside.
  2. Heat the oil on a high heat in a wok.  If you don’t have a wok, a non-stick frying pan is fine.  Get the oil as hot as you can, just below smoking point.  Check the heat by dropping a piece of spring onion (scallion) and if it sizzles immediately, the oil is hot enough.
  3. Add the chili, garlic and ginger, stir and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the spring onions (scallions) and cook for a further minute.
  4. Add the shrimp (prawns) cook for about 2 minutes or until they turn pink.  Keep everything moving as it cooks – it is a stir-fry after all.
  5. Add the sauce, keeping the heat high so that as soon as it hits your pan or wok, it sizzles and reduces.
  6. When the sauce has thickened a little, add the pak choi, mix through and cover it, cooking only for a minute.
  7. Serve with boiled white rice and sprinkle with some fresh coriander (cilantro).
Quick and Easy Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Tips and Variations

  • This meal works great with chicken or pork too.  The cooking time will be longer though.
  •  Mix up your vegetables for variation.  I often add some beansprouts, pineapple chunks (a bit retro, but I love it!) and sweetcorn.  Some other, longer cooking vegetables that work well are carrots and red peppers – to speed cooking and for a bit of authentic style, I like to cut them into matchsticks.
  • Once you get to know this recipe it is nice to play around with the sauce.  By adjusting the ratios of the ingredients, you can make it tangier, sweeter, saltier, whatever your taste or your mood.
  • I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your oil and your pan hot.  So many people seem to be afraid of the hot oil, but you really need it for this recipe to work.  If you don’t get your oil hot, the meal will get watery and the sauce will not reduce.
  • I have found when cooking this meal for less than 4 people, it is best to use the above quantities for the sauce.
Quick and Easy Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *