My ginger-packed shrimp fried rice that is high on spice, but low on added salt

After the doctor told me to cut down on sodium, I knew I needed to rethink my old takeout go-to

By D. Watkins

Editor at Large

Published September 8, 2023 5:00PM (EDT)

Prawn fried rice (Getty Images/Nazar Abbas Photography)
Prawn fried rice (Getty Images/Nazar Abbas Photography)

I was raised on shrimp fried rice. The dish was my go-to all through grade school and I can't remember not ordering extra shrimp, extra duck sauce and extra hot mustard from carryout. My current refrigerator is still a graveyard of soy sauce and hot mustard packets. So of course, you can imagine how long my face was when my physician said, "Watkins, you have to cut down on the salt."

Shrimp fried rice and salt go together like soap and bubbles, kind of inseparable. 

So, I've been eating a lot of spicy, which is one way to duck the salt, and plenty of unflavored salmon — because even though it's gross, it is one of the healthiest pieces of meat that God has ever created. Don't fall into depression if you are reading this because all isn't lost. You are not sentenced to a life of unflavored salmon. 

There is some love in living a low sodium life. You just have to find your favorite recipes, delete, edit and ultimately recreate. For me, of course, I started with shrimp fried rice. 

D's shrimp fried rice
4-6 servings
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes


17 ounces of pre-cooked rice (I like the 8.5-ounce Seeds of Change pouches, which contain no sodium)

4 eggs 

1 pound of peeled, deveined shrimp 

6 tablespoons of low-sodium stir-fry sauce (I like Whole Food's 365 brand, which contains 170 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon) 

1/2 cup of fresh peas 

1/2 cup of chopped fresh carrots 

1 generous tablespoon of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 generous tablespoon of fresh green onions 

3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

Curry powder, to taste

Black pepper, to taste 

Red pepper, to taste 



  1. Scramble the eggs in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and put them to the side.  
  2. Douse the shrimp in curry powder to taste, then fully cook them until opaque and firm in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, about 2-4 minutes depending on their size. Set aside. 
  3. Cook the peas, ginger, carrots, and onions together in — you guessed it — that last tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside
  4. Heat the pre-cooked rice into your still-warm pan for a minute or so and then mix in all of the ingredients.
  5. Once everything is nice and combined, add your low-sodium stir fry sauce. 
  6. Finally, season with Black and red pepper to taste, and serve.

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By D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a writer on the HBO limited series "We Own This City" and a professor at the University of Baltimore. Watkins is the author of the award-winning, New York Times best-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America”, "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir," "Where Tomorrows Aren't Promised: A Memoir of Survival and Hope" as well as "We Speak For Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress." His new books, "Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments," and "The Wire: A Complete Visual History" are out now.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Fried Rice Low-sodium Recipe Shrimp