1970’s Shrimp with Hoisin Sauce

I had my beautiful baby girl in 1977, and by 1978 I was so excited to make a new friend…especially a friend who also had a new daughter and loved to cook.  It was a friendship made in heaven. We could share stories about parenthood, and we could could share recipes.   We spent our days talking about food and shopping in specialty food stores, looking for any unusual or exotic ingredients.  We would love to load the girls into the car and drive to New York City’s Chinatown to buy all the different veggies and spices that were sold in the markets and on the sidewalk.  One day we came upon a market that was selling a cookbook entitled, “The Gourmet Chinese Regional Cookbook” by Calvin B.T. Lee and Audrey Evans Lee being sold for $3.00.  I had never made a Chinese dish, but I could not wait to give it a go.  This cookbook was to become my bible for Chinese cooking.  I even made Peking Duck from it.  The instructions were to “insert the tube of a bicycle pump into the cavity of the bird and pump until the bird is visibly enlarged.”  Then I hung the bird by it’s tail, as directed, in my basement overnight before cooking.  I still laugh when I use the book, as the pages listed in the Index are incorrect and it is hard to find the recipes, but it was only $3.00 and I loved it!!

We have several family favorites over the years, and my now 35 year old daughter comes running if she hears I am making “Shrimp with Hoisin Sauce.”  As you can see from the picture of the earmarked page from the cookbook, I have made this many times and some of the sauces used have splashed onto the page.  This is the sign of a well loved recipe.  It’s easy and delicious.  I used to make it with white rice all the time, but as times have changed, I now serve it with the healthier brown rice…I especially like the short grain brown rice as it is crunchier.

Shrimp with Hoisin Sauce

5 scallions

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce

1 Tbsp gin

1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp

3 Tbsp peanut oil

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp. shredded ginger-root

1 tsp. minced garlic


Chop the scallions into 1/2 inch lengths.  Combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and gin.  Shell and devein the shrimp.


Heat a wok or skillet over high heat until a drop of water immediately sizzles into steam.  Maintain high heat throughout the cooking process.  Add the oil, salt, ginger-root and garlic.  Stir for 30 seconds or until the garlic becomes pungent.  Add the shrimp and stir-fry until the shrimp have turned pinkish and have curled together.

Add the scallions and stir to coat them well wit the oil.  Add the hoisin mixture.  Mix well to coat the shrimp with the sauce.  Cook for one minute longer.  remove to serving platter.

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