One of our fall-backs when I don't feel like cooking is to order Chinese food. (Or pizza.) We enjoy take-out a lot, but I do not enjoy the grease of it all. Well, I do at the time. Just not in retrospect. So I decided to jump on this and make some Kung Pao Shrimp. It did, in fact, taste better than the Chinese restaurants' kung pao shrimp. It still wasn't the Most Amazing Thing Ever, but it was very good. We had it with a jasmine rice blend and really enjoyed it. I would consider making it again.
Note: I did not use any of the more bizarre ingredients, like Chinese black vinegar. But you are certainly welcome to try it.
Kung Pao Shrimp
Cooking Light, September 2008
For a spicier kick to the pungent glaze, leave the seeds in the chiles. Chinese black vinegar has a deep, almost smoky taste. Look for it in Asian markets, or substitute balsamic vinegar for a sweeter flavor.
1 tablespoon Shaoxing -- (Chinese rice wine) dry sherry, or sake
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/3 cups thinly sliced green bell pepper strips -- (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 small dried hot red chiles -- (3 to 4) broken in half and seeded
1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
3 cups hot cooked short-grain rice
1. To prepare shrimp, combine first 4 ingredients; cover and chill 10 minutes.
2. To prepare sauce, combine sugar and next 5 ingredients (through sesame oil).
3. Heat a 14-inch wok over high heat. Add canola oil to wok, swirling to coat. Add bell pepper, garlic, ginger, and chiles to wok; stir-fry 1 minute or just until chiles begin to lightly brown (do not burn). Add shrimp mixture to wok; stir-fry 2 minutes or until shrimp are done. Stir sauce; add sauce to wok. Stir-fry 30 seconds or until sauce thickens. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Serve over rice.