This easy, healthy, Kung Pao Shrimp tastes better than takeout and is on your table in less than 30 minutes! You will love combination of juicy shrimp and crunchy peanuts in the savory, fiery garlic chili sauce with customizable heat!
It’s takeout fakeout time! I love creating my own Asian dishes at home from Beef and Broccoli, Honey Lemon Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken, Panang Chicken Curry and more. But out of all of these takout fakeout versions, this Kung Pao Shrimp is by far the fastest and easiest – are you in love already?! The stir fried shrimp glistening with Kung pao sauce and topped with crunchy peanuts is certain to curb your Asian cravings within 30 minutes!
Kung Pao originated with chicken in the Sichuan province in southwestern China. Its known for its bold flavors, in particularly the use of garlic, chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns. I’ve omitted the Sichuan peppercorns for pantry friendly sake and instead come up with a dynamite fiery sauce (less fiery if you prefer) that you should have all the ingredients for already if you make Asian food (or my Asian/Island recipes) somewhat often. If not, all the ingredients can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store, namely hoisin sauce and mirin. So now all you need is some Costco freezer shrimp and you can make this Kung Pao Shrimp any time you get a succulent, spicy shrimp craving!
To make this easy Kung Pao Shrimp, we first whisk together our marinade that also doubles as our sauce – my favorite method to eliminate work. The marinade/sauce consists of soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, hoisin, red chili paste and a touch of brown sugar. You add some of this sauce to your shrimp for it to soak up the savory heat and reserve the rest.
I am using red chili paste in this Kung Pao stir fry sauce instead of dried chilies because I find the heat is more consistent in measuring and also the heat distributes more evenly throughout the dish instead of pockets of heat from a seed here or there. I also chose to use Asian chili paste because you can add more to taste at the end, that way individuals can customize the heat of their own serving. If you aren’t sure how much chili paste to use, start with less because you can always add more later – but you can’t take it away! I find 2 tablespoons to have a little kick but not so much that you have to sip water after every bite. I would suggest starting with that and adding more to taste, especially if you’re serving children. (I use 2 1/2 tablespoons and Patrick adds more to his – but we like heat).
While your shrimp is marinating, you prep your ginger, garlic, onion, bell peppers and dry roast your already dry roasted peanuts simply by tossing in a heated skillet for an extra roasted crunch – then its time to put it all together…
Simply saute your onions, then add your bell peppers, garlic and ginger and continue to stir fry a few more minutes. Add your shrimp and cook just until opaque, about 3 minutes, being careful not to overcook. Add your reserved sauce to the skillet and simmer just until it thickens, approximately 1-2 minutes then pile high with roasted peanuts for your very own homemade Kung Pao Shrimp in under 30 minutes! Happy takeout fakeout!
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