This recipe for Sesame Shrimp with Honey Mustard Sauce is from the legendary Cecilia Chang 江孫芸, best known for her Chinese restaurant in San Francisco, called the Mandarin Restaurant. Through her restaurant, she introduced America to authentic regional Mandarin-style, Chinese food.

Recipe reprinted with permission from: The Seventh Daughter: My Culinary Journey from Beijing to San Francisco by Cecilia Chiang Ten Speed Press (c) 2007

Cocktail parties were a regular occurrence at The Mandarin in Beverly Hills, and these shrimp, along with our Pork Ruble’s in Sweet-and-Sour Sauce, were perennial best sellers. I had one chef who did nothing by fry shrimp, sometimes for hours. In fact, guests loved the shrimp so much that we eventually put them on the menu.

One of the nice things about this recipe, other than the fact that the shrimp are incredibly delicious, is that you can easily prepare them almost entirely ahead of time and do the final frying at the last minute. The recipe can be doubled or tripled, which is a good thing since they seem to disappear rapidly. If you prefer, use Sweet and Sour Sauce instead of the dipping sauce recipe given here. -L.W.

Tips for successful Sesame Shrimp Recipe

  • To cut down prep time, buy tail-on raw shrimp that is already shelled and deveined. The tail-on is not absolutely essential, but it does give your guest a little “handle” to hold onto while dipping into the honey mustard sauce.
  • The recipe includes homemade (and super simple) honey mustard sauce, but you can also use store-bought sweet and sour sauce, or store-bought “duck sauce” or store-bought sweet Thai chile sauce (my favorite). The sweet Thai chile sauce is not spicy at all…it’s very sweet and a pretty, bright red.
  • The recipe calls for Chinese rice wine (substitute with dry sherry), or just leave it out if you don’t want to use alcohol or just don’t have it on hand.
  • Sesame seeds are expensive if you buy them from the spice aisle. Instead, head over to the “international” section of the market. Sometimes, in the Asian or Hispanic foods section, they’ll have cheaper sesame seeds. If you’re anywhere near an Asian market, you can pick up a bag for a fraction of the cost.
  • The original recipe calls for a lot of cooking oil. I’ve cut the amount down, as I’ve found it doesn’t affect the end result one bit.

Sesame Shrimp Recipe with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Serves 6-8

1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, with tails attached
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cooking oil (like vegetable, canola or peanut), plus additional for deep frying
1 cup water

Chinese Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce

To make Chinese Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce – whisk together the mustard, honey, oil and soy sauce until well combined. Set aside until ready to serve.

Line up 3 shallow bowls: In the first bowl, add only 1 cup of the flour. In the second bowl, whisk together sesame oil, wine, eggs, cornstarch, baking soda and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, cooking oil and the 1 cup of water until well combined. In the third bowl, add sesame seeds.

Heat a wok or large pot with cooking oil for deep frying over high heat until 360F. Work in batches of 4-5 shrimp at a time. For each shrimp, hold by tail, dip in flour, then batter, then sesame seeds. Deep fry in batches of 4-5 shrimp until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.



You might also like these other Chinese dishes:

Firecracker Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce – Super easy, always a crowd favorite. Here is also a video of me making the Firecracker Shrimp.

Steamed Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce – a dim sum dish! Video here.