Kung Pao Shrimp

Kung Pao Shrimp

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1 pound large shrimp
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
8 to 10 dried red chilis
3 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced or grated ginger
¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar, or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
Peel and devein the shrimp. Blot the shrimp all around with paper towels to get rid of excess moisture.


Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, rice wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, and Sichuan pepper. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch is dissolved and set aside.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the base. Add the chilis and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until the chilis have just begun to blacken and the oil is slightly fragrant. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until mostly pink on the outside but not yet cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the scallion whites, garlic, and ginger, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce and mix to coat the other ingredients. Stir in the peanuts and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate, sprinkle the scallion greens on top, and serve.