Seafood Stir-fry On A Budget?

Seafood Stir-fry ©Diane Eblin

Seafood Stir-fry ©Diane Eblin

As we sat down to dinner last night my husband pointed out this was an expensive dinner.  He didn’t know my secret. Yes there were scallops, shrimp and lobster but I had not spent a fortune on them and the lobster had been in the freezer for months just waiting for the perfect recipe.  The 16 oz bag of wild bay scallops cost $6.49 and 16 oz bag of 26 count shrimp cost $8.49, purchased at Trader Joes.

The cooked lobster pieces can be found at most grocery stores in the freezer section.  I found mine at Whole Foods.  This is the expensive item costing $20, but since I had already purchased it over 6 months ago I didn’t want to waste it.  This however did not add anything other than the wow factor to this dish.  You can make this dish without it and you wouldn’t even miss it.  It still has enough wow to get by.  Even with all of these ingredients the cost per dinner serving for the dish shown is $10.  If you take out the lobster the cost is $5 per person.  Not as good as the $5 Dinner Mom but not too bad, so plan your week’s meals accordingly.
stir-fry-veggies One of the great things about making a stir-fry is being flexible with your ingredients.  I shop for the vegetables that look the freshest and are a good value.  Also, if you don’t like an ingredient then don’t put it in your stir-fry.  As you are gathering your vegetables at the grocery store, think of how else you’ll use some of them because the entire amount will not be needed for this one meal.  Another way to really use the value of your food is to only buy enough for that meal but keep in mind you may get a better price for a larger quantity.


1 16 oz bag of Wild caught bay scallops
1 16 oz bag of 26 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
7  oz cooked lobster meat (optional)
1 sweet organic onion sliced
½ package Mini corn – I cut mine into smaller bite size pieces on angle
A handful of Snow peas sliced on diagonal
1 ½ oz Beech mushrooms (or your favorite light mushroom)
1 celery stalk sliced very thin
1 carrot sliced very thin
2 baby bok choy, whites chopped and greens sliced
½ – 1 cup white wine (Chardonnay worked well. I use what I’ll be drinking with the dish.  Only cook with wine you would drink)
Corn starch
1-2 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp virgin coconut oil
1 TB olive oil
2 tsp toasted sesame seed oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Wok or really large frying pan


This is one dish you really need to prep your ingredients before you turn on that burner.  Grab a large cutting board to slice and chop up your vegetables and let them hang out until needed.  Wash your seafood and dry it.  Toss your shrimp in the corn starch and let them hang out too.  If you need to measure out the spices and wine go ahead and get them ready too.

Now on to the cooking!  I pulled out my wok which I realized has been waiting too long to join the party.  Get your wok really hot before you add in the oils (not the sesame oil).  When you add the oil you should see it ripple.  Be very careful as you add in vegetables that naturally have liquid in them.  Add in the onion and let it start to soften before you add in the carrots.  Sprinkle a little of the ginger adding seasonings as you layer in your food.  As they start to brown add to the wok the white part of the bok choy, mini corn and your celery and let cook for a short time.  Next add in the bok choy greens, snow peas and mushrooms.

Now if you have a really cool wok you’ll have a ledge where you can push your vegetables up onto so they can hang out until everything else is seafood-stir-fry-in-wok cooked. If not you can take them out of the work or frying pan.  I just pushed mine up the sides but it didn’t leave much room on the bottom of the wok, as there was nothing to hold the food in place.  Make sure you have some oil showing and toss in the dry scallops with your garlic.  These will cook up fast.  Remember to add in your ginger, thyme, salt and pepper every time you introduce a new food to the wok.

Next add in the corn starch coated shrimp.  This will give them a little crisp edge but it will also help thicken your sauce.  Cook on both sides and then add in the cooked lobster if you are using it and the vegetable mixture back to the wok.  Pour in your wine and scrape the bits off the bottom of the wok.  Your sauce should thicken nicely but if it does not add a corn starch slurry (equal parts corn starch and cold water).  At this point add in your sesame seed oil.  You don’t want to add it until the last minute of cooking.  Once everything is combined and you have a thick sauce toss in your black sesame seeds.

You can serve this as is or over cooked rice.  This recipe serves 4 for dinner and 6-8 for an appetizer.  If you serve this for your appetizer I can’t wait to see what the rest of your meal will be, so invite me over.

Check out what’s hiding in your freezer, that you’ve already paid for, and get cooking!

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