Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe

Kung Pao Shrimp

Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe

I have mentioned elsewhere that Kung Pao style dishes come in two basic forms. There is the classical Chinese version, and then there are more Westernized interpretations that tend to be a bit sweeter and take other liberties with the basic form. This Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe, as the name suggests, replaces the more common Chicken with Shrimp, substitutes Cashews for Peanuts, and uses a sweetened Chili Paste rather than scorched dried Chillies.

Ingredient Notes

The Recipe Card below calls for Chili Paste. I have used a Korean Gochujang here, but use any type you like as long as it isn’t too heavily flavored with other aromatics. Just make sure you take into account the salt levels of the paste you do choose.

For the Vinegar, I have just used a regular White Vinegar. It is very sharp and will provide the right acidity in the amount given. You can use a Rice Vinegar if you like, but you may wish to increase the amount a little.

The Method

Stir-frying Shrimp with Scallion
Stir-frying Shrimp with Scallion

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.

Making the sauce for a Westernized Kung Pao dish.
Making the sauce for a Westernized Kung Pao dish.

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 and the chili paste and fry briefly until the aroma arises.

The final cooking stage for a Westernized Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe
The final cooking stage for a Westernized Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe

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.

Your Recipe Card:

Kung Pao Shrimp

This Kung Pao Shrimp recipe is a Westernized interpretation of a Chinese classic, featuring Shrimp and Cashews in a sweet but fiery sauce.
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Cashews, Chili Paste, Chillies, Rice Vinegar, Scallion, Shrimp, Sugar
Author: John Thompson

Ingredients

  • 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;
  • 1 tbsp. Chili paste;
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar;
  • 1 tbsp. Vinegar;
  • 3 tbsp. Light Soy Sauce.

Instructions

  • Toss the shrimp with the cornstarch, stir-fry them briefly over high heat along with the scallion, then remove to a small bowl for the moment.
  • Heat two tablespoons of oil in the pan, add the Sugar, stirring until it is dissolved.
  • Add the chopped Chili and the Chili paste and stir-fry until the aroma of the Chili rises.
  • Add the Vinegar and Soy Sauce and reduce 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 serve immediately.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!