Although having a luxury-sounding name, shrimp with lobster sauce is in fact a humble and simple dish. It takes less than 10 mins to make!
Shrimp is my favorite seafood. How about you? I cook Shrimp & Egg when I’m tight on time, Kung Pao Shrimp when I crave Sichuan flavor, Shrimp Toast when my children ask for a savory snack, and Salt & Pepper Shrimp when I want to impress dinner guests.
Today’s recipe, Shrimp with Lobster Sauce (虾龙糊), is a reader-requested dish that I’ve researched and tested recently. It instantly became a new favorite in our Red House.
What is shrimp with lobster sauce
You must have tasted or heard of shrimp with lobster sauce if you are familiar with Chinese takeout food. Said to be created by Chinese immigrant chefs in America, it’s among the most popular takeout dishes for many decades.
A typical version of shrimp with lobster sauce consists of shrimp, ground pork, peas (sometimes with carrots), and egg white strands served in a glossy, thick sauce that has a pronounced umami taste.
Where is the lobster
Don’t be surprised about the fact that there isn’t any lobster in this dish. Think Fish Fragrant Pork (aka shredded pork with garlic sauce), a signature dish of Sichuan cuisine, which doesn’t contain any fish.
Similar to the stories about fish fragrant dishes without fish, it is said that the flavor profile of this dish resembles how lobster is seasoned in Cantonese cuisine. Other tales say that the sauce tastes like lobsters which I don’t find very convincing.
But no matter what the story is behind it, this dish is, without a doubt, very tasty and warming. And it’s definitely home-cook-friendly. Read on to find out how simple it is to make!
Here are some key tips before I start to provide details of the recipe:
- Cook the shrimp briefly to retain its crunchiness.
- Keep the seasoning simple to create a clean taste.
- Control the heat and cornstarch quantity to achieve the perfect consistency.
Ingredients & substitutes
To make shrimp with lobster sauce, you’ll need the following ingredients:
Shrimp (prawn) is the star ingredient of the dish. No matter what size it comes in, make sure to use raw ones instead of pre-cooked ones. Deveining shrimp is not a compulsory procedure. But you may do so if your shrimp is quite large and you want it to be aesthetically pleasing.
Ground pork is another protein used in this recipe. Please feel free to replace it with ground chicken/turkey.
Peas or other vegetables
Add frozen peas for extra color and nutrition. Carrots, sweetcorn, asparagus, and mushrooms can be used as substitutes. When necessary, cut them into small cubes to speed up the cooking process.
Egg white is used in the sauce for extra flavor, texture and nutrition. It’s also fine to use a whole egg, with the yolk, like how you make the classic egg drop soup.
Garlic, ginger and scallions are the aromatic trio of Chinese cuisine (what exists in my kitchen at any given time). Mince the first two to fry with pork and use the other to garnish.
Broth with seasonings
To make the “lobster sauce”, you’ll need:
- Unsalted or low-sodium Chicken broth (learn a homemade recipe in my post Wonton Soup). If unavailable, substitute with water flavored with chicken or mushroom seasoning powder (Jī Jīng/鸡精 or Mó Gū Jīng/蘑菇精).
- Shaoxing rice wine, to add aroma and diminish the fishy taste of seafood (a concept in Chinese cuisine known as Qù Xīng/祛腥). Replace it with dry sherry if you wish to make the dish gluten-free.
- Salt and sugar, to create a savory-sweet taste (reduce or omit salt if your broth is already salted).
- Ground white pepper, to add a hint of heat.
- Toasted sesame oil, to provide extra fragrance (not to overuse as it can be overpowering).
In Chinese cuisine, cornstarch (or tapioca, potato, sweet potato starch, etc.) is commonly used to thicken a sauce or soup. Make it into a slurry with a little water. The quantity recommended in the recipe card below can be adjusted based on your preference for consistency.
Step 1: Prepare the shrimp
Under running water, rinse the shrimp to remove the slimy coating. Drain and lay them over kitchen paper to remove excess water.
Step 2: Fry the pork & aromatics
Heat a little oil in a wok or a pan over medium high heat (use neutral-flavored oil, such as sunflower, canola, vegetable oil, etc.). Add minced garlic, ginger and ground pork. Stir fry until the aromatics become fragrant and the pork loses its pink color.
Step 3: Fry the shrimp
Add the shrimp. Toss to cook it quickly. As soon as it curls up and starts to turn pink, move on to the next step (do not overcook).
Step 4: Add the broth
Pour in the chicken broth, along with the peas. Season with Shaoxing rice wine, salt, sugar, white pepper and sesame oil. Cook until the mixture comes to a boiling point.
Step 5: Thicken the sauce
Turn the heat down so that the broth is at a very gentle simmer.
Stir the cornstarch slurry very well then slowly pour it into the broth. Swirl with a spatula/spoon as it thickens.
Step 6: Add the egg white
Once the broth is thick enough to coat the spatula/spoon with a thin layer, pour in the beaten egg white (lightly beaten with a little water). Stir gently to form the tiny egg ribbons. Turn off the heat and sprinkle chopped scallions to garnish.
What to serve with
While the dish is piping hot, scoop it over a bowl of steamed rice. Let the shiny, silky sauce run through the gaps and flavor each rice grain. I’m sure you’ll enjoy every mouthful!
Alternatively, treat it like a soup (increase the sauce volume if you wish) and pair it with flour-based staples, such as Scallion Pancakes, Mantou (Plain steamed buns), Hua Juan(Flower Rolls), etc.
Or, if you’re planning a multi-dish meal, serve it with other quick and easy dishes, such as Tomato & Egg Stir-Fry, Garlic Bok Choy, Black Pepper Beef, etc. while having steamed rice as the staple.
Other classic takeout recipes
Looking for more Chinese takeout dishes to make? Check these popular ones:
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & if you REALLY like it, consider leaving a comment as well!
Shrimp with Lobster Sauce (虾龙糊)
- ½ lb shrimp - headless and skinless
- ½ tablespoon neutral cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- ⅓ cup ground pork - or chicken
- 1 cup unsalted chicken broth - see note 1
- ⅓ cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 pinch ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1½ tablespoon cornstarch - mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
- 1 egg white - lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of water (see note 2)
- Scallions - finely chopped, for garnishing
- Rinse the shrimp to remove the slimy coating on its surface. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok/saucepan. Stir in minced garlic, ginger and ground pork. Fry until the pork becomes pale. Add the shrimp. Toss to cook.
- As soon as the shrimp curls up and starts to turn pink, pour in chicken broth. Add peas and seasonings (Shaoxing rice wine, salt, sugar, white pepper, and sesame oil).
- Once the broth comes to a boil, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Slowly pour in the cornstarch slurry while swirling with a spatula/spoon (remember to stir the slurry before pouring in case any starch sinks to the bottom).
- When the sauce reaches the desired consistency (thick enough to coat the spatula/spoon), pour the egg white in a thin stream while slowly swirling.
- Garnish the dish with chopped scallions. Serve immediately with plain rice, alone or with other savory dishes.
NUTRITION DISCLOSURE: Nutritional information on this website is provided as a courtesy to readers. It should be considered estimates. Please use your own brand nutritional values or your preferred nutrition calculator to double check against our estimates.
Karin Kollasch says
Sounds yummie!! 🥰 Next one to try 😊👍🙋♀️
Wei Guo says
yummy, simple and fast
Wei Guo says
Glad you liked my recipe Julie!
Steven Kopstein says
As a pescatarian, I don’t eat pork or chicken – would it be awful to eliminate the pork and use a vegetable stock?
Wei Guo says
Yes, you can omit pork and use a vegetable stock. If available, try using minced shiitake mushroom to replace the meat for a better taste.
I like the shrimp with BROWN lobster sauce. How is this done?
Wei Guo says
You can alter the sauce by adding light and dark soy sauce, or oyster sauce. In this case, you’d need to omit the salt.
Ok, what would the measurement’s be?
Wei Guo says
You can try replacing the salt in the recipe with 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce.
Why is it called lobster sauce when there is no lobster in the sauce?
Wei Guo says
It is a bit weird, isn’t it? As I’ve explained in the post, some say it’s because the flavor profile of the dish resembles how lobster is seasoned in Cantonese cuisine. Other say that the sauce tastes like lobsters.