No More MSG: Homemade Chinese Shrimp and Broccoli Recipe, “Takeout Style”

We can’t deny that Chinese takeout is delicious, but there comes a point where everyone realizes that even something that tastes delicious may leave us feeling less than fantastic. The MSG in Chinese food — not to mention the excess fat in most takeout versions — can leave our bodies feeling not-so-hot. And considering how easy it is to make Chinese food at home, there’s no reason to keep ordering dishes that make us feel less than stellar.

Using all-natural ingredients and a fraction of the fat, you can make delicious American-style Chinese food at home. Take comfort in the fact that you know exactly what went into it.

Chinese Shrimp and Broccoli

Serves 4


2 pounds uncooked, sustainably farmed shrimp
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets (reserve the stalks for broccoli soup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 oranges
1 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil 
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water


Peel and vein the shrimp if necessary. Reserve shells for shrimp stock for another recipe.

In a wok or heavy skillet, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Add the onion. Cook until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and toss to combine. Cook until the broccoli begins to turn a brighter green, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the juice of the oranges, the soy sauce, the honey and the sesame oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is cooked to the desired doneness.

Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in the water.

When the broccoli is cooked remove it to a plate. Add the water and cornstarch mixture to the pan, and whisk until you have an even, thick sauce. Add the broccoli back to the pan and add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp just turn pink, about 3-4 minutes.

Serve immediately over brown rice.

Optional Variations:

  • Add a chopped chile at the same time as the garlic if you prefer something with a bit more heat.
  • Top with toasted sesame seeds for added crunch and flavor. 

Image: Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco