For a long time, Danny wanted a wok. I resisted. Space in the kitchen and pantry is limited, and a wok won’t stand for being stuffed somewhere in a tight closet. Would we even use it often enough to make it worthwhile? If we’d gone this long without one, surely we didn’t need one soon.
Well, I caved. I made space for it, and we found a shrimp stir fry that made me happy the wok found its place here.
This recipe comes together in minutes, and it’s just as good when heated up the next day for lunch. Gotta love that.
We made it the first time according to the Times’ recipe and it was good, but we decided to make a few changes. There were too many snow peas for my taste, so we halved the amount and filled in the void with bright orange strips of bell pepper. Cashews were tossed in because I felt like their soft crunch belonged. Black pepper went in because I don’t have white pepper.
If you’ve been considering buying a wok and go for it, just remember to treat it like a cast iron skillet. Try to avoid soap and abrasive sponges or brushes. Treat it with oil after rinsing it clean with hot water. If you don’t have a wok, use a frying pan at least 12 inches in diameter with sides about 2 or 3 inches high.
Also, stick with vegetable oil at first. We tried canola oil and it caught fire as soon as it hit the wok.
In the end, it was all okay. Despite the drama, the shrimp and vegetables were perfectly cooked. The wok is clean and ready for our next stir fry, which will be soon.
shrimp stir fry with snow peas and bell pepper
Have all your ingredients chopped and measured before heating up the wok, and this meal comes together in minutes. Serve it with warm white jasmine rice. If you like spice, stir in a teaspoon of Sriracha or crushed red pepper in with the garlic and ginger. Leftovers the next day were still good. Just make sure to store the rice and stir fry separately overnight. Oh, and don’t throw out those shells after peeling the shrimp. They make a great stock for shrimp bisque.
1 tablespoon salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
3 ounces (1 cup) snow peas, ends removed
3 ounces (1 small) orange bell pepper, cut into long strips
1 scallion, chopped
1/4 cup lightly salted cashews
warm jasmine rice
Stir 2 cups cold water and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl until the salt dissolves. Add shrimp and let stand five minutes. Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and set them down on paper towels to dry, patting them with another paper towel.
Combine broth, rice wine, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and pepper in a bowl.
Heat a wok over high heat. It’s ready when a few drops of water vaporize in a couple of seconds. Add 1 tablespoon oil and move the wok to swirl the oil around the sides. It may start to get smoky. Toss in the shrimp and stir frequently with a wooden spatula to fry them for 1 minute or until they just turn pink. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil with garlic and ginger. Stir fry that for 5 seconds. Throw in the snow peas, bell pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and fry for 1 more minute.
Stir the cornstarch mixture and add it to the wok. Swirl it around until it comes to a boil. Stir fry for about another 30 seconds, enough to cook the shrimp through and thicken the sauce. Stir in the scallions and cashews. Serve over rice.
Serves 4. Adapted from The New York Times