Flash in the Pan--Kung Pao Shrimp
Flash in the pan: bringing you simple, quick, but not dumbed-down recipes.
This Kung Pao shrimp recipe is adapted from a Kung Pao chicken recipe by Fuchsia Dunlop in her book Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking. I tweaked it by subbing shrimp for chicken, and adding mild, long green chiles, for color and a touch more heat. I also tossed in a pinch more Sichuan peppercorns, because I love that numbing, tingly feeling. You should feel free to up or down the quantity of chiles and peppercorns according to your own heat preference.
I know the ingredient list is long, but I promise you that this goes fast. There's little chopping involved and once you start stir-frying, the dish is ready in five minutes. And if you don't have something, just do it without--I didn't have scallions around, so I used an onion--not ideal, but still good. In fact, this was one of my favorite quick dinners in a long time.
Kung Pao Shrimp Yield: serves 2-3 Adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe for Kung Pao Chicken in Land of Plenty
1 pound shrimp, cleaned and shelled For the marinade: 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons light soy sauce 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine or medium-dry sherry 1 1/2 teaspoons potato flour or 2 1.4 teaspoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon water For the sauce: 3 teaspoons sugar 3/4 teaspoon potato flour, of 1 1/8 teaspoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce 1 teaspoon light soy sauce 3 teaspoons chinkiang or black Chinese vinegar 1 teaspoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon chicken stock or water For the stir fry: 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil 10-12 dried red chiles, such as arbol chiles, broken in half 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns 4 garlic cloves, sliced 1 tablespoon sliced ginger 5 scallions, sliced, white parts only 2 mild long green chiles, sliced 2/3 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
In a small bowl, combine the shrimp with the marinade ingredients, and mix well. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients, and whisk well. Set aside.
In a wok or large frying pan over high heat, warm the oil until it shimmers. Add the chiles and the Sichuan peppercorns, and stir-fry briefly until they are crisp and the oil is spicy and fragrant. Take care not to burn the spices. (You can remove the wok from the heat for a moment if necessary to prevent overheating.)
Quickly add the shrimp with the marinade, and stir-fry over high heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the shrimp have separated from each other and started to curl, add the garlic, ginger, scallions and green chiles. Stir-fry for a few minutes, until the mixture is fragrant and the shrimp are cooked through.
Give the sauce a stir, and add it to the wok, continuing to stir and toss. As soon as the sauce has become thick and shiny, add the peanuts, stir them in, and serve.
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