Shrimp, Ginger & Broccoli Stir-fry ready in 20 minutes

After eleven years in Costa Rica I’m split between the shrimp and the prawn camp. Or is that camarones? In whatever language, this shrimp, ginger & broccoli stir-fry is treat for the taste buds! It is gut healthy, low fat, nutritious and ready in a breeze.

I keep my starchy carbohydrate consumption low as I find too many to be a trigger for the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. My diet is predominately grain free, again because it suits the management of my symptoms. By starchy carbohydrates I mean potatoes, bread, grains, rice and pasta. Instead I include a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans and pseudo-grains in my diet to ensure I consume enough complex carbohydrates and fibre. Instead of noodles I pair this dish with zucchini (or is that courgette?) zoodles.

The Low Down On Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients that we need to consume in relatively large amounts, along with protein and fat. They are sugar molecules that our body breaks down these into glucose. Glucose is the main source of energy for our body’s cells, tissues and organs.

The three main types of carbohydrates are:

SUGARS or simple carbohydrates, so named because they are very easy to break down. Natural sugars are found in fruits, vegetables and milk. Refined sugars are used to sweeten soda, candy, chocolate, processed foods, desserts and cakes. These refined sugars are considered BAD carbohydrates and should be minimised in you diet.

STARCHES are complex carbohydrates, so named because the body needs to exert a lot more energy into breaking them down. They include grains so rice, bread and pasta are all starches as well as corn. Some vegetables and legumes are starches like potatoes, beans and peas.

Refined carbohydrates are grains that have been processed to remove nearly all the bran, fibre and, by default the nutrients. They include white bread, white rice and white pasta. These refined carbohydrates are considered BAD carbohydrates and should be avoided or absolutely minimised.

FIBRE is also a complex carbohydrate. Our body is unable to digest most fibre so fibre helps fill us up. It is valuable to digestion and may help digestive conditions such as constipation. Fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts.

Carbohydrates and Diabetes

Carbohydrates break down into glucose in the body causing blood sugar levels to increase. This triggers the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone that allows the body’s cells to use this sugar for energy or storage.

Excessively high blood sugar levels over time can lead to problems in the insulin production process, referred to as insulin resistance.

While eating carbohydrates does not cause diabetes, the single greatest risk factor of diabetes is obesity.

According to Diabetes UK, diabetes is on the rise and in the UK the number of people with diabetes has reached 4.8M. It is anticipated that numbers will rise to 5.8M by 2025. In the USA findings show that 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and 1 in 3 are pre-diabetic.

90% of people with diabetes have type-2 diabetes, a type that is highly influencing by diet and lifestyle. Findings show that people with type-2 diabetes are 50% more likely to die prematurely.

This is a scary statistic, especially when you consider how much you can mitigate this risk by improving your diet, adjusting your lifestyle and becoming more active. How about starting with this shrimp, ginger & broccoli stir-fry for dinner?

The Nutritional Magic of Shrimp, Ginger, Broccoli & Zucchini:

So, getting back to this gut-healthy shrimp and broccoli stir-fry. Let’s break it down and see what is so good about it.

SHRIMP (or prawns) are low in calories, high in protein and highly nutritious, particularly in vitamin B12, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids and are one of the best sources for iodine. They are high in cholesterol, but their other health benefits minimise this as a concern unless you have issues with high cholesterol. In which case eat in moderation. Warning: shrimp is a common food allergy.

GINGER has to be of my favourite ingredients. It is just so versatile! Don’t even get me started on it’s medicinal properties. Oops, too late! Not only is it a great digestive aid, helping to soothe upset stomachs and diminish nausea, studies show that it may help pain and inflammation too.  (Check out some benefits here) I’m using stem ginger here for a change. Usually I use finely sliced root ginger and add a little raw honey to sweeten the sauce.

BROCCOLI is high in fibre and is a little powerhouse of nutrients providing very high levels of vitamin C and K. This very light method of cooking helps retain the high levels of nutrients.

ZUCCHINI (or courgette) is a summer squash and while treated as a vegetable, is technically a fruit. It contains a lot of nutrients and is particularly high in vitamin A, the content of which increases with cooking.


  • 250g broccoli 
  • 1 red chilli , 1/3 thinly sliced, the rest deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 balls stem ginger , finely chopped, plus 2 tbsp syrup from the jar
  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp arrowroot
  • 1 garlic clove , crushed
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 200g raw king prawns/shrimp
  • 2 courgettes/zucchini
Prawn and broccoli stirfry


  • Using a spiraliser, spiralise the courgettes/zucchini and put to one side. No spiraliser? Then use a vegetable peeler and run down the length of the courgette to create long ribbons.
  • Heat a pan of water until boiling.
  • Tip in the broccoli and cook for just 1 min – it should still have a good crunch.
  • Meanwhile, mix the stem ginger and syrup, soy sauce, arrowroot, garlic and finely chopped chilli.
  • Toast the sesame seeds in a dry wok or large frying pan.
  • When they’re nicely browned, turn up the heat and add the oil, prawns and cooked broccoli.
  • Stir-fry for a few mins until the prawns/shrimp turn pink then pour over the ginger sauce.
  • Cook for 30 seconds, adding a splash more soy or ginger syrup, if you like.
  • Meanwhile, plunge the zucchini zoodles in boiling water for 30 seconds then drain.
  • Scatter with the sliced chilli and serve over zucchini zoodles.

Want to check out some more of my recipes? Then follow this link for others on my website.

Ceramics by Anne Easterbrooke. Website: www.anneeasterbrooke.co.uk

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