Thursday, July 21, 2011
Asian-Inspired Shrimp Stir Fry
For a few days I've been craving some bold, Asian flavors. The restaurant I work at serves Continental food -- steak, lamb, fish and so on -- so I knew I wasn't going to get my Asian-fix at work. I also work a lot and when I finish my shift at night I like to come straight home so having a late dinner of Chinese food at a restaurant nearby was out. So I did what any cook with a craving would do: I made the food myself. And ate it for breakfast! It was so good that when I told Jen all about it, she asked that I make her the same thing for dinner. So I essentially cooked this meal twice in three hours. It's that simple, that quick and that delicious. At least I think so!
Here's what you will need for the stir-fry,in addition to a wok or a large sautee pan:
1/2 lbs shrimp. I used the 31-40 variety (meaning medium size shrimp, 31-40 pieces per lb)
1 large red bell-pepper, sliced thinly.
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, any variety except Portobello which is a little too meaty for this.
1 stalk of celery, sliced thinly on a bias (at an angle).
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
1/4 cup Soya Sauce
Serves 2 generously.
Remember, do all your slicing, chopping, mincing and shrimp-peeling (if you bought the peel-on kind) before you start cooking. (In a cook's world what you're doing is called setting up your mis-en-place). All these ingredients go into the pan almost all at the same time and they cook fast so you won't have time to slice pepper once your ginger and garlic are frying. We all know garlic burns VERY quickly.
2. On high heat in a large sautee pan or wok, heat the vegetable and sesame oils.
3. Add the garlic, ginger and sesame seeds, if using, and cook for a few seconds until the garlic has picked up a little color and you can smell its aroma.
4. Add the sliced vegetables and sautee till slightly soft, about 2 minutes.
5. Now you can add your shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes. When the shrimp is cooked it will change color (translucent flesh becomes opaque) and it will also curl. (This is because proteins coagulate when cooking. As they cook, they lose moisture, shrink and become firm)
6. Add hoisin sauce and soy sauce and toss everything together. Cook until the liquid has evaporated.
*7 If you are using noodles, add the noodles along with the sauces and toss. Some of the liquid will be absorbed by the noodles. If you are using rice, put rice into a bowl and top with stir-fry mixture.