By Maris Callahan
While Chinese takeout can be a great once-in-a-while treat, it’s just as easy to make your own Asian-inspired flavors at home. The best part about cooking your own Asian food is that if you keep things relatively simple, you only need a few base ingredients in your pantry in order to create a myriad of wonderful dishes.
For example, did you know that it’s easy to make your own Kung Pao? The name refers to a cooking technique from the Sichuan province of China, but there are a number of regional adaptations that vary slightly from one another.
For example, in Sichuan, the dish features the Sichuan peppercorn, a mild red pepper; while in Malaysia, Kung Pao is served with cashew nuts instead of peanuts. In America, the way that many Asian food chefs prepare Kung Pao is overly salty, greasy, and way too sweet.
To keep those added calories, fat grams, and unwanted flavors off your plate, take Kung Pao shrimp back to its roots with a little spice and the savory flavor you crave from your favorite Asian dish.
While some versions of this dish use chicken or other types of seafood, shrimp are an excellent source of protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and selenium. Small but mighty, shrimp give you a lot of nutritional value, and their crisp texture pairs wonderfully with this spicy sauce.
|Download the Recipe PDF
Right click to save the PDF to your desktop. Directions on downloading PDFs.
2 tbsp stock, use chicken, fish, or vegetable – whatever you have on hand
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 dried red chilies, whole, optional – omit if you like a milder flavor
2 dried red chilies, crushed
¼ cup roasted peanuts
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp green onion, chopped
2 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
Steamed jasmine rice
Step 1: To make the sauce, combine the stock, mirin, dark soy sauce, sugar, salt, and sesame oil. Set aside for later use. In another small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water. Set aside.
Step 2: Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the grapeseed oil. Make sure the pan is nice and hot before you add the oil; this will help create a nice hot surface to sauté.
Step 3: Sauté the shrimp, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook at this point; you’ll want to cook until they are no longer opaque and lightly caramelized.
Step 4: Add the chilies, peanuts, garlic, scallion, and ginger. Stir thoroughly until garlic and ginger are aromatic, for about 1 minute.
Step 5: Stir cornstarch mixture to make sure that it is completely dissolved and well combined. Add sauce and cornstarch mixture to the sauté pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to evenly distribute. Stir this for about 5 minutes, or until shrimp is evenly coated with sauce.
Step 6: Serve over your favorite rice. Jasmine rice is great with this dish, as its long fluffy grains do a nice job absorbing some of the heat from the sauce, but if you like a different variety, you can substitute your favorite.
About the Author:
Maris Callahan is the author of In Good Taste, an avid self-taught home cook, and is widely knowledgeable about all things culinary. She is especially passionate about helping new cooks learn how to prepare healthy, delicious meals and snacks, even when life is busy. She believes in Ghirardelli chocolate, farmer’s markets and cooking from scratch when possible. When she is not in the kitchen working on her next recipe, Maris works as a marketing professional in Chicago and in her spare time, contributes to several websites including SheKnows.com, Diets In Review and Shape.com.