Summer nights are not meant for spending hours in the kitchen.
My apartment is blessed with huge southwest facing windows, which let in tons of natural light in the winter, but come summertime that means the entire place is a furnace for most of the day. Turning on the AC before sundown does nothing. So naturally, if I make dinner before sunset, I need to be prepared to sweat a little.
This all means that I need main dishes that take as little time as possible. Like this sweet chili shrimp dish. Whenever friends and acquaintances tell me they've tried my cookbook, about half the time they also tell me that this is the first recipe they try from it. Which surprised me...I would have thought something more of a restaurant staple like kung pao chicken, General Tso's, or lo mein, but I guess it was just the simplicity of the ingredients that lured them in.
The tangy, sweet, and spicy sauce with an edge of garlic may seem complex, but actually requires few ingredients and less than 5 minutes of cooking time. I like eating it most with rice, but the sauce is also sublime poured over al dente noodles.
And for all your lucky folks with outdoor space and grills, I'd also recommend marinating the shrimp in both the marinade and sauce, then grilling them instead.
And next week, I'll be sharing with you some cookbook-related news! Stay tuned!
Sweet Chili Shrimp
Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal, or 2 to 3 as a main course
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- ½ tablespoon chili paste
Marinate the shrimp: In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the cornstarch and salt. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Prepare the sauce: stir together the soy sauce, honey, cider vinegar, and chili paste. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the oil and swirl to coat the base. Add the garlic, ginger, and shallot and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 40 seconds. Toss in the shrimp and stir-fry until pink, about 2 minutes. Pour in the sauce and stir to coat the shrimp well. Transfer to a plate, sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top, and serve.