Kung Pao Shrimp is a classic dish from the Sichuan Province located in the southwest region of China. Traditionally this dish is made with chicken but using shrimp adds a delicious seafood flavor. This dish has also become a staple of Western Chinese cuisine.
Kung Pao is named after Ding Baozhen a Chinese governor of the Sichuan Province in the 1800s. Baozhen lived during the late Qing Dynasty. The name Kung Pao actually comes from Baozhen's nickname Gongbao which translated to "Crown Prince's Tutor". Baozhen is remembered for his work on the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project. A statue to honor him has been erected in Dujiangyan City.
The traditional version of this recipe is very spicy and might not be suitable for those with a more bland palet. There are regional variations of this recipe throughout China. Provinces outside of Sichuan often have less spicy recipes. Although the western version of Kung Pao includes more orange flavors and a much tamer spice flavor, this recipe will keep to the traditional Chinese recipe. Although this recipe will not include the traditional Sichuan peppercorns which can cause one's mouth to go numb. Traditionally Kung Pao is known for being an incredibly spicy dish.
- 1 pound shrimp
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups oil, or as needed
- 6 to 8 small red chilies, or 2 teaspoons chile paste
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1/2 cup cashews
- Shell and devein the shrimp. Cut in half lengthwise.
- Lightly beat the egg white. Marinate the shrimp in the salt, egg white and cornstarch for 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Set aside.
- Heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp.
- Cook briefly until the shrimp turns pink. Remove from the wok.
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons oil from the wok. Add the chile peppers or chile paste.
- Stir-fry for a minute, then add the minced ginger and stir-fry until it is aromatic (about 15 seconds). Stir in the cashews.
- Stir-fry for about 1 minute, taking care not to burn.
- Make a space in the middle of the wok. Add the sauce.
- Heat briefly, then mix in with the cashews. Add the shrimp back into the pan.
- Cook for 1 more minute and serve hot.