Kung Pao Shrimp

I love Chinese food.  

Like super crave it, when I’m trying to be healthy.  I used to think that as Americans we made Chinese food into the caloric monstrosity that it is, but then I went to China.  I don’t think its much better.  Unless, of course, what we were given was “for the Americans”, which is quite possible.  

My mom makes me laugh.  Every time she is down in the dumps, she gets Chinese food.  I’ve inherited this gene.  I always know what kind of week she’s having when she tells me she’s getting Chinese food.  Maybe she makes up some of her rough day stories, just so she can get Chinese food.  This is a great idea.  I’m going to have to start doing that!!

Kung Pao Shrimp….to veggi-ize it, use Extra Firm Tofu.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Serves 4

 

1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 count), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon dry sherry or rice wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 tablespoon)
½ inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
6 small whole dried red chiles (each about 1¾ to 2 inches long), 3 chiles roughly crumbled, or 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 teaspoons black rice vinegar or plain rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish/oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch dice
3 medium scallions, sliced thin

We also added 1 bag of stir fry vegetables.  

1. Toss shrimp with sherry and soy sauce in medium bowl; marinate until shrimp have absorbed flavors, about 10 minutes. Mix garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon oil in small bowl; set aside. Combine peanuts and chiles in small bowl; set aside. Mix chicken broth, vinegar, sesame oil, oyster-flavored sauce, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch in small bowl or measuring cup; set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add shrimp and cook, stirring about once every 10 seconds, until barely opaque, 30 to 40 seconds; add peanuts and chiles, stir into shrimp, and continue cooking until shrimp are almost completely opaque and peanuts have darkened slightly, 30 to 40 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp, peanuts, and chiles to bowl; set aside. Return skillet to burner and reheat briefly, 15 to 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, swirl to coat pan, and add red bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 45 seconds. Clear center of pan, add garlic-ginger mixture, mash into pan with spoon or spatula, and cook until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds; stir into peppers until combined. Stir broth mixture to recombine, then add to skillet along with reserved shrimp, peanuts, and chiles; cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan, until sauce has thickened to syrupy consistency, about 45 seconds. Stir in scallions (and stir fry vegetables if using); transfer to serving plate and serve immediately.

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