My husband and I were fortunate enough to have my younger brother visit this weekend on his way back for his senior year of college at the Citadel. As you can see from the photo above, my “little brother” Dustin is no longer so little! Dustin has loved shrimp all his life, and I had just gotten some awesome-looking udon noodles from my favorite grocery store, Wegman’s, so I decided to make kung pao shrimp over udon for a home-cooked meal while he was here. I love the kung pao recipe that Bridget at The Way the Cookie Crumbles adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, and this is my version – pretty much true to the recipe she has, but with just a few small changes.
Kung Pao Shrimp over Udon
Adapted from: Bridget’s blog
21 extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 count), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons plus ½ tablespoon soy sauce
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
3 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1 to 1 ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
½ tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 medium red or orange bell pepper, cut into 1 inch strips
3 medium scallions, sliced thin
3-6 oz. packets udon noodles
1. Toss shrimp with mirin and 2 teaspoons soy sauce in medium bowl; marinate until shrimp have absorbed flavors, about 10 minutes. Mix garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon oil in small bowl; set aside. Combine peanuts and chile flakes in small bowl; set aside. Mix chicken broth, vinegar, sesame oil, ½ tablespoon soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch in small bowl or measuring cup; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. When water boils, turn off the burner and add udon noodles. Gently separate noodles with a fork and let stand in water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add shrimp and cook, stirring about once every 10 seconds, until barely opaque, 30 to 40 seconds; add peanuts and chiles, stir into shrimp, and continue cooking until shrimp are almost completely opaque and peanuts have darkened slightly, 30 to 40 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp, peanuts, and chiles to bowl; set aside.
4. Return skillet to burner and reheat briefly, 15 to 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, swirl to coat pan, and add red bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Clear center of pan, add garlic-ginger mixture, mash into pan with spoon or spatula, and cook until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds; stir into peppers until combined.
5. Stir broth mixture to recombine, then add to skillet and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan, until sauce has thickened slightly, about 45 seconds. Stir in scallions and udon noodles and toss. Add shrimp and peanut mixture and toss to coat with sauce and warm through, about 1 minute; transfer to shallow bowls with 7 shrimp each and serve immediately.
Thanks to my husband, Craig, for snapping the photos for this entry!