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Sep 25, 2006 02:49 PM

Recipe-- Chinese Shrimp and Snow Peas-- Help Pls!

Can someone pls help? Growing up in Central PA in the 70's, my idea of Chinese cooking was rather dismal at best-- but I am trying hard these days and am turning out some ok dishes! But-- I am stuck on stir fries, which look so easy. Mine are either under or over saucey, too mushy or too raw.

Now, I have some lovely and pricey shrimp and snow peas. Before I make an expensive mess-- pls help! I'd like to make something delicate, but not tasteless!

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  1. The first thing is -- you cannot possibly overheat your wok. The wok has to practically be glowing -- in point of fact, taking a cue from Alton Brown since I don't have a stove capable of generating the heat required, I do my woking over a chimney starter full of blazing charcoal.

    Over-sauced is easy to fix -- just don't serve all of the sauce.

    I love a mixture of 3/4 c. soy sauce, 1/2 c. mirin (seasoned rice wine vinegar), 1/4 c. sugar, 2 Tbsp. sesame oil, 2 cloves garlic minced, 1/2 inch fresh ginger minced, a heavy pinch of red pepper flakes, and a scallion chopped.

    With shrimp and snow peas, you're going to want to wok everything together since they take no time to cook. Blanch your snow peas (dunk them in boiling salted water for 30 seconds and then submerge them in a big bowl of ice water to stop them cooking), then fire up your wok, add a tablespoon or so of cooking oil (NOT olive oil), toss in the peas, the shrimp, toss for 30 seconds -- no more -- and then add all the stuff for the sauce at once. Have cornstarch slurry on hand to thicken the sauce. It should take you about 2 minutes in the wok, tops.

    Good luck!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      wow-- thank you! I have definitely been doing it wrong-- wokking at way too low of heat. This sounds great. I'd like to invest in a new wok too-- can you tell me what you use for stir fries-- which is what i love?

      1. re: madisoneats

        A carbon steel round-bottomed wok from the Wok Shop (I used to live in SF). If you have a big burner on your stove though you can use a flatbottomed wok or a round-bottomed wok with a wok ring.

        1. re: madisoneats

          What kind of stove do you have? If it is not industrial blast quality with two circles of blowtorch intensity gas, then forget a thin-skinned wok.

          Use a castiron pan, the thicker the better. This will retain much more heat when the food hits it. Speed and intensity of cooking is the key to good-textured stir fry. Let the castiron skillet warm up for a long time at high heat before adding any oil or food, and cook in small batches -- usually the meat first to sear, remove, do the veggies and add in the meat, sauce and corn-starch slurry (to thicken) and finish.

          In terms of adding and intensifying flavor, you can never add too much garlic, ginger, and scallion -- put it in the oil, the sauce, and add it into the skillet along with the food.

      2. Take a cooking class. There is so much technique involved, that hands-on learning from a pro is much more effective than words on paper.

        1. Slight disagreement of you contention that "In terms of adding and intensifying flavor, you can never add too much garlic, ginger, and scallion"

          The flavor of shrimp is delicate and too much of any of the above will obscure the taste.