Rice Kernel and I have a natural affinity for shrimp. Crunchy shrimp, to be exact. My husband, FHE, will never let me forget that adjective. When we were in high school, there was a particularly memorable dinner. We were out to dinner with my parents and someone ordered shrimp. I had barely sunk my teeth into a piece when my tongue hurled it into a napkin and I lamented (I’m toning it down) its mushy, soggy, inedible texture. FHE couldn’t quite understood why I found the texture so troubling. (No doubt he was thinking, “you are too picky.”) Since then, I’ve endured years in the Midwest where shellfish is not always the freshest and moments at school and work where I felt satisfied just to find time to scarf down a meal. Needless to say, my standards operate on a sliding scale these days. But when it comes to shrimp, I can’t deny the texture and mouthfeel of perfectly cooked shrimp: crunchy, firm, crisp, al dente. Rice Kernel agrees. Only he’s mildly allergic…. Alas. That doesn’t stop him from telling me to buy it.
Here’s a speedy shrimp stir-fry with sugar snap peas (one of Rice Kernel’s favorite raw and cooked vegetables) and sweet carrots. It’s a trifecta of crunch. (If only I had reserved Rice Kernel’s bag of cashews from snacktime and threw them into the mix…. next time.)
Shrimp with Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used fairly large tiger prawns)
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp rice wine
pinch white pepper
2 carrots, peeled and julienned (cut into matchstick-size pieces)
1 cup sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch ginger, minced
1 scallion, sliced
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp chicken stock
dash sesame oil
- In a small bowl, mix together the shrimp, cornstarch, rice wine, salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to several hours.
- In a large pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil on medium-high heat. Add half of the ginger and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and stir-fry for 1 -2 minutes until it is pale pink and not quite cooked through. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside.
- To the same pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and the white part of the scallion. Cook for 1 minute. Add the sugar snap peas and carrots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, adding a pinch of salt and stock during cooking.
- Toss the cooked shrimp to mix (another minute). Add salt, pepper, and sesame oil to taste. Remove from the heat and garnish with scallion. (And cashews?)
- Serve with pasta or rice.
Note: This is a dry, non-saucy stir fry.