I had been seeing a lot a great looking Kung Pao recipes (such as here or here) and I just had to try making it. I liked the fact that the recipes called for sichuan peppercorns which I had recently acquired in Chinatown and I had been interested in using again. Chinese black vinegar is another ingredient that I had been wanting to try using. I was also interested in trying a dish that included whole dried chilies. Given my current obsession with prawns I decided to do a shrimp kung pao. Everything about the kung pao dish sounded really tasty!
Though the list of ingredients is a bit long, if you prepare everything before you start cooking and have it on hand it is pretty easy to make. The shrimp kung pao turned out great! It was one of the tastiest meals that I have had in a while. I really enjoy the fragrance of the toasting sichuan peppercorns and chilies. Up till now I had ground the sichuan peppercorns before adding them to the dish and this recipe called for them to be used whole. The fact that the recipe also contains peanuts made me want to chew each bite well to enjoy the peanuts. That meant that I also got to chew most of the whole sichuan peppercorns and fully enjoy their mouth numbing effect. The sichuan peppercorn effect and the heat of the chilies was a really nice combination. I served the shrimp gong bao on rice the first night and I tried serving the leftovers on some whole wheat pasta. I am thinking that when I make this again I will try adding some vegetables.
1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shao Xing rice wine
1 tablespoon oil
10 dried red chilies or to taste (cut in half)
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, toasted*
5 green onions (sliced)
1 tablespoon garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
3 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chicken stock
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 handful roasted peanuts (roughly chopped)
1. Mix the shrimp, cornstarch, water, soy sauce, and rice wine in a plastic bag and let marinate for 10-20 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a pan.
3. Add the red chilies and sichuan peppercorns and fry until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the shrimp and saute for a minute.
5. Add the white part of the green onions, garlic and ginger.
6. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chicken stock, sugar and corn starch and cook until the shrimp is cooked and the sauce thickens, a couple of minutes.
7. Serve garnished with the peanuts and the green part of the green onions.
* If you are new to Sichuan peppercorns you might want to start with 1 teaspoon and build up to the full tablespoon that I go with.
Kung Pao Chicken
Dan Dan Mian