Kung Pao shrimp with peanuts

On Friday night I wanted to give myself a treat. I cooked up three dishes with fresh ingredients from our local market: Kung Pao shrimp with leek and peanuts, celery with mixed nuts and a mango salad on the side! Healthy, delicious and fun to prepare. In the following three posts I will show you how I prepared it, and will explain certain things about the ingredients and Chinese culture. It was a real pleasure cooking!

Most people will  be familiar with the dish Kung Pao Chicken, which is sold in Chinese restaurants the world over. however, this way of preparing food can also be used for different kinds of food, such as tofu or shrimp. The name Kung pao comes from Gong Bao, who was a governor of the Chinese province of Szechuan during the Qing Dynasty. Supposedly he as introduced this cooking style. Traditionally it is a spicy dish (like all other dishes from this region), with chili and Sichuan peppercorns. Naturally you can make it as spicy (or mild) as you wish. Keep in mind: the amounts of chili and Sichuan peppers I used make for a fairly spicy dish.

Kung paoIngredients:

  • Shrimp (boiled and peeled, size 41/50, frozen) 500 grams
  • Leek (1 piece)
  • Fresh ginger (the size of your thumb)
  • Garlic (3 cloves)
  • Roasted unsalted peanuts (a handful)
  • Sichuan peppercorns (1 tablespoon)
  • Dried chili peppers (2 pieces)
  • Oil (1 tablespoon)

For the sauce:

Kung PaoPreparation:

  1. Defrost the shrimp (this is most easy by placing them in a plastic bag into a bowl with cold or lukewarm water for about 15 minutes)
  2. If necessary, clean the shrimp (the ones I bought had already been cleaned and peeled, very handy)
  3. Now prepare the sauce. Take a bowl of water and mix the corn starch until you get a smooth sauce. Then add the other ingredients (soy sauce, Oyster sauce, vinegar and sugar) and mix well. 
  4. Slice the leek in rings
  5. Chop the garlic, chili and ginger in fine pieces

Preparation:

  1. Heat oil in a wok and wait until the oil is very hot
  2. Fry the Sichuan pepper and chili shortly. Take care! They can burn quickly so lower the fire before this happens. You want the hot oil to soak up the spiciness, not to deep fry the chillies
  3. Add the garlic and leek and increase the heat, stir fry 1 minute
  4. Now add the shrimp and stir fry for one more minute
  5. Finally add the sauce and let it simmer for a minute or so. Turn off the fire and add the peanuts last. Mix well
  6. Use some of the leek rings as garnish

Tip: serve with a bowl of white rice

Tip: this dish is part of 3 dishes that serves 2 people. For more dinner guests you will need to use more ingredients, which makes it a bit harder to prepare. For larger groups, this dish could be a snack or side dish instead

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