The Happy Home Cook: Shrimps and Vegetables with Quail Eggs

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Shrimps and Vegetables with Quail Eggs (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Shrimps and Vegetables with Quail Eggs (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Now that Lent was here I brought out my seafood and vegetables recipes for Fridays when we abstain from meat. First on the list was mom’s stir-fry shrimp and vegetables dish made magical by the presence of tiny, tasty hard-boiled quail eggs.

My late mom, Lulu Reyes Besa cooked this stir-fry entree often. Use the best and freshest shrimps and vegetables. If you cannot find fresh quail eggs use the canned ones for this recipe. Serve this for a family meal or a party dish. This is an Asian in America recipe. Serves 4 to 6.


fresh shrimps, large, jumbo sized - 1 pound, heads removed, peeled, deveined
juice of fresh lemon - 1 Tablespoon
vegetable oil - 2 Tablespoons
garlic - 2 cloves, peeled, minced
onion - 1 large, sliced
celery - 3 stalks, chopped
tamari soy sauce, low sodium - 2 Tablespoons (from Asian markets or online sources)
organic vegetable broth - 1 cup
carrots - 1 cup, peeled, sliced
potatoes - 1 cup, peeled and cubed
xiao xing rice wine - 1 Tablespoon (from Asian markets)
frozen green peas - 1 cup
quail eggs - 1 can (15 ounces)drain liquid, or 2 cups of fresh hard boiled pieces, peeled (from Asian markets)
baby corn - 1 can (15 ounces) drain liquid, from Asian markets
straw mushrooms - 1-2 cups (or use button mushrooms), wiped clean with paper towels
snow peas or sugar snap peas - 1 cup, edges trimmed
cornstarch - 2 Tablespoons
water - 1/4 cup, to mix with cornstarch
sesame oil - 1/8 teaspoon (from Asian markets or online sources)
scallions or green onions - 1/2 cup, for garnish (optional)
sea salt - 1/2 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
cashew or almond nuts (unsalted) - 1/2 cup (optional)


  • Prepare the shrimps by washing, take off heads, peel and devein. Pre-marinate the shrimps in lemon juice for about 30 minutes (no longer than thirty minutes).

  • In a large wok, over medium high heat vegetable oil. Sauté the garlic, onions, celery.

  • Pour the pre-marinated shrimps, tamari sauce and broth. Stir and cook the shrimps for 5 to 6 minutes till they transform from pink to orange in color.

  • Add the carrots and cubed potatoes.

  • Add the rice wine. Blend well.

  • Lastly add the green peas, quail eggs, baby corn, mushrooms and snow peas or sugar snap peas. Add cashews or almonds if desired. Cook for 5 minutes more.

  • In a separate small bowl, dilute the cornstarch in cold water and stir well till there are no more lumps.

  • While the shrimp and vegetables are simmering, add the cornstarch mixture and let boil quickly in about 2 minutes. The sauce will thicken to a gravy-like consistency.

  • Season with sesame oil, salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions. Serve with boiled rice.

Cook's comments: if you buy fresh quail eggs from the market, hard boil them for about 2 to 3 minutes in brisk, bubbling water. After water boils, turn off the heat, cover and keep the eggs in the stockpot for 1o minutes. Then transfer eggs to a bowl filled with cold water. Set aside till cool enough to handle. The tiny eggs are easier to peel if immersed in the cold water right away.

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey is a journalist and author of the “How to Cook Philippine Desserts: Cakes and Snacks” Cookbook. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and blogs about Filipino home cooking on her site

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