Spicy Korean-Style Shrimp with Zucchini and Scallions

For an adaptation of the Korean stir-fry of squid with a garlicky, umami-loaded, savory-sweet, gochujang-based sauce, the squid here is replaced with plump, briny shrimp. This version includes carrots, scallions and zucchini (or yellow summer squash) for layers of texture and color, as well as to round out the meal.

Look for gochujang, the vivid-red fermented chili paste and workhorse in the Korean kitchen, in the international aisle of the supermarket or in Asian grocery stores. Before cooking, marinate the shrimp for about 10 minutes in a mixture of gochujang, sugar, sesame oil and soy. To be efficient, prep the other ingredients for the stir-fry while the shrimp marinate. Serve with steamed short-grain rice.

NOTE: The seedy section at the core turns soft and slightly squishy when cooked, so remove the seeds in the zucchini or summer squash. To do so, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape out the core.

Buying “easy-peel” shrimp is a great option because they are already deveined, all you have to do is easily peel away the shells. Since we make our own shellfish stock, we appreciate having the shells which we then freeze until it’s time to make another batch of stock.

Spicy Korean-Style Shrimp with Zucchini and Scallions

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2-3 Tbsp. gochujang
  • 2 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs. extra-large shrimp, peeled (tails removed), deveined and patted dry
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash (about 8 oz.), halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the gochujang, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat; let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the neutral oil until shimmering. Add the carrot and cook, stirring often, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Push the mixture to one side of the skillet and add the shrimp with its marinade, distributing it in an even layer. Cook without stirring until the shrimp are pink on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the scallions and zucchini, then stir to combine with the shrimp and carrot. Cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are opaque throughout and the scallions and zucchini have softened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the sesame seeds.


Recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s