This is not authentic Chinese cooking. It is my version of a stir-fry, inspired by a classic. By definition, Kung Pao is a stir-fry served with spicy sauce, and sprinkled with peanuts. So I guess I am reasonably safe with my concoction. The inclusion of sugar snap peas adds extra veggies that make the whole thing more satisfying to me. Tune the spices to your comfort level, but please make sure to include Szechuan peppercorns. You cannot get the same type of heat from any other pepper.
KUNG PAO-INSPIRED SHRIMP
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, lightly crushed
1/3 cup roasted cashews
1 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 yellow bell pepper, cut in large slices
sugar snap peas, amount to taste, around 6 oz
salt to taste
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
drizzle of sesame oil
Heat a large saute pan over high heat for about 1 minute. When you see the first wisps of white smoke, swirl in one tablespoon of the vegetable oil, then add the peppercorns and sautee for a few seconds. Add the cashews, bell pepper and sugar snap peas. Season lightly with salt. Stir fry for a few minutes, remove from the pan, reserve.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, when very hot add the shrimp and stir fry until it starts to get cooked through. Return the vegetables and cashews to the pan, add the oyster sauce and sambal. Stir for a minute or so, pour in the cornstarch/water. Let everything come to a boil, cook until fragrant and luscious. Adjust seasoning. Serve over white rice if you like.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: This was a great simple dish to prepare after an intense day of work. After more than a decade without facing a classroom, I am teaching college students and let’s say the stress level goes up a bit. It is nice to have a meal that does not require too much time and too much effort. Stir-fry to the rescue!
Adjust the spice level to your liking, if you are feeling brave get some habaneros to the party… I always flirt with the habanero idea, but never go for it. I guess my Dad would be disappointed.
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