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…
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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…