Ok, I’ll be honest. I have no idea if this really qualifies as “kung pao” anything. I just really like that phrase. Bring me to a PF Chang’s or any Chinese restaurant and you’d be pretty safe making a bet I’ll order something with those words in front of it. It’s fun to say, it’s spicy and it’s one of the few Chinese dishes that doesn’t have at least one rando ingredient that makes you question what you’re chewing.
I get stumped on lunch a lot. When there’s no leftovers, I’m sick of canned tuna or salmon and I’ve just eaten eggs for breakfast, this is what goes down thanks to that trusty bag of frozen shrimp that I keep for emergencies. Seriously, it’s like my “when all other protein sources fail” go to. They’re already peeled and defrost in minutes under some water. Can’t beat that.
I’m always super skeptical about the turnaround time for Chinese food. “Ok, 10 minute” when you’re placing a takeout order or food that comes to your table before you can even blink just seems weird. Like there’s something sketch going down in the kitchen and you’re eating something that must’ve been half cooked to begin with and sitting around for who knows how long.
I take all the skepticism back though after this. From raw ingredients to that spicy sauce coated deliciouness above took all of 5 minutes.
It’s spicy, sweet and salty and I guarantee you’ll be licking the sauce off your fingers. Because let’s be honest, the chop sticks are great in theory but that’s about it when it comes to actually getting the food in your mouth.
For the Shrimp
- 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled & deveined
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 hot red pepper, diced
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
For the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon szechuan sauce
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon red curry paste
- In a small bowl whisk together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Bring a large saute pan to med-high heat.
- Add olive oil and saute hot red pepper for 30 seconds.
- Add shrimp and cook for 1-2 minutes until just turning pink.
- Add scallions (reserve some for garnish), ginger and garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Add sauce and toss to coat all of the shrimp. Cook for 30 seconds until thickened.
- Add peanuts and cook another 30 seconds.
- Quickly transfer to a plate and serve.