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Kung Pao Shrimp

Kung Pao Shrimp 1

I love Kung Pao dishes. Chicken is the most common variety, and the most traditional, but Kung Pao Shrimp is also very popular restaurant fare. Generally, I tend to cook Kung Pao dishes the traditional Chinese way with scorched dried chilies and Sichuan Pepper but, today, I am going to do more of a westernized, restaurant style of preparation. I am going to use chopped fresh chili with a bit of plain chili paste, substitute cashews for peanuts, and use a little more sugar than you will generally find in traditional Chinese renderings. My only departure from the typical restaurant version will be that I am not going to bulk out the main ingredients with a lot of vegetables…

The Ingredients

Kung Pao Shrimp 2

  • ½ lb. medium Shrimp;
  • 1/2 cup Cashews;
  • 2 Scallions, white part only, cut in 1 inch sections;
  • 1 tbsp. Cornstarch;
  • 2 tbsp. chopped red Chili (sorry, I forgot to include this in the picture);
  • 1 tbsp. Chili paste (I am using Korean Gochujang);
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar;
  • 1 tbsp. Vinegar;
  • 3 tbsp. Light Soy Sauce.

The Method

Kung Pao Shrimp 3

Toss the shrimp with the cornstarch and then stir-fry quickly over high heat in a little oil along with the scallion sections. As soon as the shrimp are pink, remove everything to a separate bowl for the time being.

Kung Pao Shrimp 4

Add sufficient oil to the pan to make two tablespoons and as soon as it is hot, add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved. Add the chopped chili paste and the chili paste and fry briefly until the aroma arises.

Kung Pao Shrimp 5

Now add the vinegar and soy sauce and as soon as it has cooked down and thickened to a glossy sauce, add back the shrimp and scallion and then the cashews Stir for a minute or so until the shrimp are fully cooked and all is heated through. Serve immediately.

The Verdict

Well….this was very tasty other than the fact that it was a little too salty. The chopped chili I used was some I had preserved in salt and I underestimated the saltiness a little. I would have preferred to use fresh chili but had none on hand. The only other complaint was that some of the chilies I used had rather tough skins which marred the texture a little. Beyond that, though, it was very pleasant and my wife really liked it…

 

 

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I will try this recipe, although I might skip the sugar. You did not mention what chilis you used; I will try a combination of cayenne and habanero.

    December 16, 2012
    • You can certainly cut down on the sugar, although I wouldn’t omit it entirely as it is somewhat integral to the taste of this dish. I am not sure what sure chilies are in the Gochujang or the chopped chili condiment I made… neither were spectacularly hot.

      December 16, 2012
      • I wouldn’t omit the sugar either. It is what makes the dish recognizable as Kung Pao.

        December 18, 2012
  2. Looks amazing…and awesome to swap the peanuts for cashews….they’re my favorites (along with macadamia) by far!

    December 16, 2012
  3. One of my favorite dishes when we eat out…hooray for a great recipe! I love this!

    December 17, 2012
  4. Looks delectable! On the hunt to try it soon

    December 17, 2012
    • I think I prefer the more traditional Chinese variety myelf, but this makes a nice change 🙂

      December 17, 2012

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