Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sweet-and-Sour Shrimp

The more sophisticated my palate becomes as I age, the more I crave dishes with strongly contrasting flavors with sweet-and-salty (like dark chocolate or caramel with sea salt) and sweet-and-sour being two of my favorites. As a kid I couldn't get enough electric orange sweet and sour chicken, but as an adult I prefer more authentic and less disturbing-colored Chinese food like this sweet-and-sour shrimp. I'm definitely not calling this a heritage recipe, but it is an easy-to-prepare and vibrantly flavored dish that uses a suite of common Asian ingredients. Although the shopping list for this dish may seem excessive, all of the components are used frequently in Asian cooking and definitely worth purchasing if you enjoy cooking Asian cuisine at home. This recipe turns shrimp into a delicious main with only a quick sauce and stir-fry in a large skillet or wok. This sauce expertly balances sweet ketchup, salty soy sauce, acidic vinegar, and fresh ginger with a satisfying punch of heat from chili sauce, hitting all of your taste buds. Served over a bed of brown rice and steamed snow peas, this meal will make you forget all about take-out menus and realize that you can have a tasty, healthy home-cooked meal, even on busy days.

Sweet-and-Sour Shrimp
from Food and Wine
serves 4

2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese chile sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled

1. In a small bowl, whisk the ketchup with the soy sauce, chicken broth, sugar, chile sauce, cornstarch and vinegar.

2. Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 10 seconds, until fragrant. Add the shrimp and cook until curled, but not cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk the sauce and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened and the shrimp are cooked through, 3 minutes.

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