Low-fat Wokking – Shrimp & Asparagus Stir-fry Modified

This post is for my blogging friend Eva of Kitchen Inspiration.

Eva is currently on a self-imposed short term restricted diet and also looking for quick easy meals. Shrimp, which she loves, is allowed and since we are in asparagus season, I decided to modify my Shrimp & Asparagus Stir-fry recipe and hopefully she and other readers who need to adhere to certain dietary restrictions can get the idea of how to adjust a recipe.

Hope you do not find the strike-outs too distracting, they are there so you can understand what I did.

Words in red are specific to this post.

Shrimp & Asparugus Stir-fry Modified

1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and pat dry with clean paper towels (this is an important step)
½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon ground white or black pepper or to taste (for this dish, I prefer white)
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Combine all the above well. Can be done the day before and kept refrigerated.

1 – 1½ pounds asparagus, peeled and slant cut into about ½ inch thick slices
2 – 3 scallions, smash white part with the flat of the knife, cut, green and white parts, into 2-inch lengths
6 – 8 slices ginger from ginger wine or a thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
3 – 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed minced
¼ – 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce or to taste, optional
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
2 – 3 tablespoons oil 1 – 2 teaspoons oil
½ – ¾ 1 – 1¼ cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons broth or water, optional. Stir well before adding to wok or frying pan.


1. In a preheated wok or frying pan add 2 tablespoons 1 – 2 teaspoons oil.  Add scallion, ginger and garlic. Stir fry, using medium heat until garlic is lightly browned. Adding broth 1 tablespoon at a time if wok is dry and to prevent burning. Remove and discard scallion, ginger and garlic. (This is referred to as flavoring the oil.).

2.  Turn heat to high, add shrimp. Stir fry until shrimp changes color, adding broth 1 tablespoon at a time if wok is dry and to prevent burning. Remove shrimp (leaving oil/broth behind, if any) to a clean platter and set aside. Remove and discard scallion and ginger if desired.

3. Add oil, broth by tablespoons, if needed, to wok or frying pan. Add salt, chili sauce (if using) and asparagus. Stir-fry until asparagus turns a bright green color, adding broth 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed if wok or frying pan is dry and to prevent burning.

4. Add shrimp and broth, as needed for gravy, bring to a boil. Thicken with cornstarch mixture, if using. Serve over cooked rice or spaghetti squash (steamed or baked).

VARIATIONShrimp & Sugar Snap Peas Stir-fry

1 – 1½ pounds sugar snap peas, stringed
1 – 2 tablespoons oyster sauce for the salt. Add oyster sauce during cooking step 4. 

NOTE: The advantage of a wok is the oil pools at the bottom of the wok so you can get away with using less oil. You could use a frying pan, but may need another teaspoon of oil and may be more broth.

Copyright © by Norma Chang

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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49 Responses to Low-fat Wokking – Shrimp & Asparagus Stir-fry Modified

  1. How nice of you Norma! I am cutting back too so I am totally making this next week!!! I love shrimp and asparagus. A good example of how recipes can be adjusted to lower the fat and sugar content.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello P and P,
      After Eva left a comment on my post about her restrictions this just popped into my head. Hope she does not mind my not clearing the idea with her first but I did not have her e-mail address.

      • I’m sure that she doesn’t mind and she’ll be flattered that you were thinking of her! I just think that is so thoughtful! If you get email notifications of comments that come in, her email address should be in that. If not, I can send it to you as I should have yours in one of my notifications.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello P and P,
        Yes, of course her e-mail address is in the e-mail notification. Ah well, I am not the brightest light bulb.

  2. ChgoJohn says:

    Hello, Norma. Shrimp with asparagus is such a great combination. Yes, you may have reduced the calories in the dish but it doesn’t look like you sacrificed any of the flavor in the process. Thanks for the “how to”.

  3. Daphne says:

    That looks delicious.

  4. A fresh and healthy stir fry my friend with lots of wonderful seafood ingredients 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. zestybeandog says:

    I like how you showed what you changed, that’s helpful. All those little things really do add up!

  6. mireia says:

    If it wasn’t because I have no idea where to find many of these ingredients…

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mireia,
      Ginger wine is something you make yourself, you can substitute a few slices of fresh ginger and 1 tablespoon of sherry. If you cannot find ginger just add more ground pepper. Substitute fresh chili peppers for the Asian chili sauce. All the other ingredients are readily available at any food market. Hope I helped. Write again if you have further questions.

  7. Eva Taylor says:

    I am really, really touched, Norma, thank you so much for thinking of me and thank you for the shout out. Such a kind gesture need not be cleared (referring to your response to Barb Profiteroles and Ponytails).
    This recipe looks delicious, and you are so right, I do love shrimp AND asparagus and together they make a wonderful stir fry. And the asparagus is in season which is always a huge bonus! What I really love about this dish is that neither the shrimp nor the asparagus need a long time to cook so they both will give an incredible fresh texture to the stir fry. Your photo is just beautiful, in fact, I can almost taste the sweetness of shrimp as I virtually bite into it! It looks absolutely succulent.
    Your method to add the broth or stock a little at a time is exactly how I sauté. I am a firm believer in controlling the things within my reach so that the odd time I can step outside and have a little treat with little to no impact. It really is a balancing act that seems to get more and more difficult as I get older! But the one thing for certain is that cooking healthfully need not be boring and tasteless, and you’ve proven it here with this gorgeous recipe. Feeling satisfied is always paramount and satisfaction need not be gorging, but a taste satisfaction. My hubby JT has joined me in every meal I have made for the last two weeks, which shows that it’s really not ‘diet’ food — it’s just a different approach to cooking. Plus he wanted to drop a couple too (by the way, he is at 8 and I am at 7!)
    Thank you kindly again for your generosity in modifying your recipe up to suite my restrictions, I appreciate it very much.
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend and that your allergies are at bay with this humid and warmish weather we are about to enjoy.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      You are so welcome. I actually had a lot of fun modifying the recipe. Forgot to mention: serve over steamed or baked spaghetti squash. Will go back and add to post.
      Love for food and weight control are my big issues. I do not like to be restricted when I go out to eat so do my best to eat healthy at home. Having a veggie garden helps a great deal as freshly harvested veggies need only simple cooking.
      Congrats to you and JT for your weight loss. I am still trying to lose 5 pounds, but I do have heavy bones and that’s a problem, hahaha.
      A wonderful weekend to you too, yes, my allergies are at bay and I did quite a bit of gardening this week.

      • Eva Taylor says:

        Hi Norma, I made this again this week and boy was it good! I didnt have asparagus but i had lots of french green beans (thinner versions of regular green beans). I love the strong ginger flavour, and it turned out even better the next day when I had it for lunch. Thanks again for modifying your delicious recipe for me.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Eva,
        So glad you like the modified recipe. Try it with kohlrabi and red onion, I think you will like this combo.

  8. I love this recipe! Shrimp and asparagus are my absolute favorite.

  9. Courtney says:

    Your so good to help out your friend! And it looks SO good, too!

  10. I like the cornstarch step. I prefer a slightly thickened sauce for stir-fry.

  11. Charles says:

    Hi Norma, what a coincidence – I actually had the asparagus and shrimp dish in that noodle restaurant I went to, and wrote about, on Saturday night. I’m guessing that one wasn’t as healthy as your version, but it’s a great combo of flavours – I like it a lot! 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello charles,
      I try to be good and eat healthy at home so When I eat out I order what I like and not worry about a thing. Glad you liked your noodles dish a lot.

  12. How thoughtful of you to be thinking of Eva! 🙂 I am thinking of cutting back too. I feel like my waist is growing by the second, so I need ideas to cut back.

  13. Norma, what a great post and cool recipe. We are in stir fry season here too! As I was reading your recipe I realized that I didn’t use any oil in my stir fry.

  14. This looks really, really wonderful, Norma. I do so wish my husband would eat shrimp!

  15. Karen says:

    It was so nice of you to modify a recipe…it sounds great.

  16. Norma, I made this dish tonight and really enjoyed it. I was surpized how straight-forward it was! I will definitely be making it again. I’m also thinking that I could use the same technique with the broth and corn starch with beef and broccoli, as the girls really like both of these so much. Thanks for this!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello P and P,
      Thanks for taking the time to let me know that your girls like this dish. You could also do the same with scallops, calamari (cut into rings), fish (sliced) and lobster (sliced).
      Yes, you could use beef, chicken and pork. Add a bit of soy sauce and cornstarch to marinate.

  17. Juliana says:

    Perfect combination , shrimp and asparagus, and your shrimps are cooked to perfection!
    Thanks for this healthy and tasty recipe 🙂

  18. Sophie33 says:

    Waw, Norma! What a divine spring dish: asparagus combined with shrimps: a very clever & spring like idea! 🙂 Yum Yum Yum!

  19. Diana says:

    Yummy. Two of my most favourite ingredients.

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