Kung pao, yet another classic flavour profile in Sichuan cuisine, is characterized by a balance of spicy, savoury, sour and sweet tastes. The sauce is versatile and can be applied to many canvases, most famously on chicken. I’ve made everything from Kung Pao eel to venison to tofu, but the version I frequently make is shrimp, since it comes together quickly. Take caution when you fry the dried chilies. Depending on how hot your chilies are, the room and your lungs might fill with smoke, so try not to take any deep breaths and definitely turn on the exhaust fan and open the windows. –Jing Gao
Kung Pao Shrimp
Kung Pao Sauce
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp chicken stock or water
- 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp black vinegar
- ½ tsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- 5-6 pieces dried chilies cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) segments
- 1 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 scallions white parts only, cut into 1/2- inch (1.3cm) segments
- 2 celery stalks cut into 1/2- inch(1.3cm) segments
- 1 lb (450 g) shrimp peeled, tails on
- ½ cup Kungpao Sauce
- ½ cup roasted cashews or peanuts
- microgreens or edible flowers for garnish (optional)
- white rice for serving
Kung Pao Sauce
- In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until well-combined.
- In a wok or frying pan over high heat, add the oil and heat until smoking. Add the chilies and Sichuan pepper and fry quickly so they don’t burn, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the ginger, garlic and scallions and fry until fragrant. Add the celery and shrimp and flash-fry for about 3 minutes, until the shrimp start to turn pink.
- Pour in the sauce, stirring to make sure it coats all the ingredients evenly for 1 minute. The sauce will thicken as soon as it hits the heat, so move quickly here. Stir in the cashews at the very end before transferring to a serving platter.
- Garnish with the microgreens (if using) and serve immediately with rice.