07-12-30_shrimp.jpgWhat do we know, really, about “Kung Pao Shrimp”? I recognize it from Chinese take-out menus as a certain Szechuan item, with a reliably spicy kick. With the recipe from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Terrific Diabetic Meals, by Lucy Beale, Joan Clark, and Barbara Forsberg (recipe below), I managed to make a perfectly seasoned shrimp dish. Like any good stir-fry, this was super-quick to cook. Including prep time, you’ll eat this in 15 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp. dry sherry
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp. chili paste
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger-root
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

In a small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, sherry, sugar, and chili paste. Mix well and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine egg white and cornstarch. Beat well. Add shrimp and mix well to coat. Set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, ginger, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque-pink. Add hoisin-sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until shrimp are well coated. Stir in peanuts and serve.

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For my hoisin sauce, I used Ka-Me brand. It’s a good idea to keep a bottle of this in the back of your fridge. Instead of using dry sherry, I used my dry vermouth. I used only 1/2 tsp. of Tuong Ot Toi Viet Nam chili garlic sauce, in the interests of my toddler. This is a phenomenal bottled sauce that should definitely live in your refrigerator.

My resulting stir-fry was a little gummy, but it was perfectly seasoned. I also cooked the “Rice and Noodle Pilaf with Toasted Almonds,” from the November 2007 issue of Gourmet, to accompany the shrimp. I halved the recipe to make 4 servings. I was dared by the notion of combining rice and pasta. Toasting the orzo in the pan with the butter gave it a great color and flavor. Instead of using lemon zest, I added most of a preserved lemon, once again a staple from Sahadi’s in Brooklyn. Your perfectly textured, kid-friendly pilaf will taste great. The almonds are a wonderful addition to the mix.

RECIPES: a fine, fast shrimp stir-fry; impress a crowd with this pilaf
super-fast shrimp; approximately 45 minutes for the pilaf
quick and tasty spiced shrimp; nutty pilaf

Still in a “stir-fry” frame of mind, I want to cook “Chicken, Edamame, and Noodle Stir-Fry,” from the September 2007 issue of Everyday Food next time. Return to my site on Friday, February 8, to see how great it is.