Spicy Citrus Shrimp Noodle Bowl (and How to Buy Sustainable Shrimp)
Everyone needs something like this Spicy Citrus Shrimp Noodle Bowl in their life. Shrimp . . . is delicious. So mild and sweet, tasty on its own or in combination with an Asian-inspired sauce (as in this recipe). But I remember reading during this year’s World Oceans Day how problematic shrimp is from a sustainability perspective. Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States—much of it imported from sources in Thailand, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Vietnam—and the environmental, social, and health impacts are cause from concern. These issues include1:
- pollution from effluents (liquid waste or sewage)
- unregulated uses of antibiotics
- widespread coastal mangrove destruction
- worker exploitation and child labor, particularly in Thailand
- bacterial contamination2
As with everything else on our plates (and animal protein in particular) it’s best to educated on the potential impacts of shrimp consumption and make informed changes to our behavior as consumers. The facts are out there, and there are strategies to have your shrimp and sustainability too (so to speak).Here's the shortlist of tips to buy sustainable shrimp: Click To Tweet
- Buy American. Now is the time to show that patriotism for the good of the planet, folks. The United States maintains rigorous management standards that ensures fisheries are continuously monitored, improved and sustainable. American wild-caught is the best-case scenario, and expect to pay more for a superior, safe product.
- Rely on third-party certifications. Since 90% of shrimp available to American consumers is imported, however, an additional level of research is often required. Determine whether imported brands have opted to voluntarily earn the third-party Best Aquaculture Practices Certification or Marine Stewardship Council Certification that verify environmentally and socially responsible processes, or spot-check according to shrimping’s negative impacts (such as the specific brands linked to Thai slave labor, for example).
- Investigate new technology. Indications are that alternate/innovative ways of producing shrimp specifically and seafood generally are on the rise, and need widespread support. Stories like these are what give me hope for the future of a healthy diet in harmony with nature, and some of my recent(ish) favorites include articles on how the most sustainable way to raise seafood may be on land, how silvofisheries may redeem farmed shrimp, and how New Wave Foods’ shrimp made in a lab (photo below) may alleviate strain on the limited supply of actual animal protein.
Once you’ve found a sustainable source for shrimp, the next part is easy: whip up this Spicy Citrus Shrimp Noodle Bowl. I personally am not a huge fan of mincing garlic and grating ginger to make a sauce, so I used two ingredient “shortcuts”: ginger juice instead of ginger and chili garlic sauce instead of garlic and chili flakes. These substitutions substantially reduce hands-on effort and time! Of course, I added it back in with the chili-dipped orange sliced but those are totally and completely optionally because they’re just decorative. I really wanted to honor the quick-cooking nature of shrimp with a recipe that doesn’t overly complicate things. I hope you enjoy this simple Spicy Citrus Shrimp Noodle Bowl!
- 1 7-oz package shirataki noodles*
- 1 large carrot
- ½ medium cucumber
- ⅓ lb shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- Juice of 1 orange (scant ¼ cup)
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp ginger juice
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp arrowroot starch
- ¼ tsp salt, or to taste
- ½ cup cashews, roughly chopped
- Cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- Chili flakes, for garnish (optional)
- Orange slices, for garnish (optional)
- Drain the package of shirataki noodles in a colander while preparing the rest of the recipe.
- Thinly shred the carrot using the hand-held tool of your choice. Slice the half cucumber lengthwise, then thinly width-wise into crescents. Set aside.
- To make the sauce, whisk to combine the orange juice, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, ginger juice, fish sauce, arrowroot starch and salt. Transfer to a medium skillet over low heat.
- Add the shrimp and noodles to the sauce immediately, then toss to coat as the shrimp cooks and the sauce thickens (this happens in a matter of minutes). Transfer to two bowls, and top with the shredded carrots and sliced cucumber.
- Sprinkle the chopped cashews over the combination, then add cilantro and chili flakes if desired.
- To make the decorative chili orange slices, slice an orange width-wise into thin rounds. Sprinkle chili flakes over half, tap away excess, and correct any ragged edges with your fingernail or the tines of a fork. Place gently around the perimeter of the bowls before serving.