Take-out at Home: Kung Pao Shrimp
I can’t tell you how many times I wrote/called/labeled this recipe as “Kung Fu Shrimp.” I blame those Jackie Chan V8 juice commercials. Whatever it’s supposed to be called, it sure is good. I guess I’m a little partial though because I looooooove shrimp. I could eat shrimp daily and never get sick of it. If there’s one thing that I totally hate about living in Arizona (besides the 110 degree summer days) it’s the fact that we don’t have access to fresh seafood like a coastal area would. I really don’t know what I would do with myself if I moved to a coastal, seafood-infested town. Probably burst with excitement. Until then I’ll just share this bursting-with-flavor Asian-inspired dish.
Taste: Fresh, complex, slightly spicy. Definitely not lacking in flavor.
Texture: The shrimp are perfectly cooked while the sauce is thick, the bell peppers are crisp, and the peanuts are crunchy.
Ease: As long as you have all of your ingredients prepped and ready, this dish comes together quickly and easily.
Appearance: I love that the shrimp and bell pepper pieces are the same size. The green onions add a nice pop of color.
Pros: As fast as ordering take-out but much healthier and probably cheaper.
Would I make this again? Yes.
Kung Pao Shrimp
Yield: 4 servings
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar or plain rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon dry sherry or Chinese rice cooking wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 1/2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 green onions, sliced thin
For the sauce:
Whisk all ingredients together in large liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.
For the shrimp:
Toss shrimp with sherry and soy sauce and let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a small bowl. Combine peanuts and red pepper flakes in a second small bowl and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add shrimp and cook, stirring about every 10 seconds, until barely opaque, 30-40 seconds. Add peanuts and pepper flakes and cook until shrimp are almost completely opaque and peanuts have darkened slightly, 30-40 seconds longer. Transfer mixture to a clean bowl and set aside.
Add remaining 1 tablespoons vegetable oil to skillet and return to high heat until just smoking. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 45 seconds. Clear center of skillet and add garlic mixture, cooking until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir garlic mixture into peppers to combine.
Whisk sauce to recombine then add to skillet along with reserved shrimp, peanuts, and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until sauce has thickened to syrupy consistency, about 45 seconds. Add green onions and serve immediately with rice, noodles, or quinoa.