Chinese New Year is the perfect excuse to indulge in my favorite cuisine. Different foods symbolize good fortune in the new year—health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and more. This Szechuan Shrimp will bring lots of laughs in the new year.
Shrimp Symbolizes Laughter
When I learned that shrimp symbolizes laughter (because the word for shrimp, “har,” sounds like laughter), I knew I had to include this spicy, garlicky Szechuan Shrimp in my family’s celebratory meal. I don’t know about you, but the year of the Rooster hasn’t had nearly enough hilarity, so bring on the shrimp, bring on the laughs for the year of the Dog! To make this a celebration-worthy meal, round it out with noodles, which symbolize longevity.
Just a Few Ingredients Makes Perfect Szechuan Shrimp
This shrimp is loaded with garlic, ginger, and tangy fermented beans, and it has a spicy kick, too. The ingredients for Szechuan shrimp include:
- Chili oil
- Chinese cooking wine (shaoxing)
- Szechuan peppercorns
What Is Szechuan or Sichuan Style Cooking?
Chinese cuisine is made up of eight distinctive cooking styles—Fujian, Anhui, Cantonese, Hunan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong and Szechuan or Sichuan—representing each of the country’s eight provinces. Szechuan cuisine, from the Southwestern part of China, is known for being bold and spicy. Chilis, garlic, ginger, and the mouth-numbing Szechuan peppercorn are its quintessential ingredients. Szechuan shrimp contains all of these flavorful ingredients.
- 1 ½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons sherry or Chinese cooking wine, divided
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
- ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon water, divided
- 1 ½ tablespoons spicy bean paste
- 1 ½ tablespoons chili oil with fermented black beans
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2-inch piece ginger, minced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
- In a medium bowl, toss together the shrimp with 2 tablespoons of the cooking wine and the cornstarch.
- In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of the water, chili oil with black beans, spicy bean paste, soy sauce, and the remaining tablespoon of cooking wine.
- In a separate small bowl, combine the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch with the remaining teaspoon of water.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until just opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the skillet.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two and then add the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Bring back to a boil and add the cornstarch-water mixture. Cook, stirring, for another minute or two until the shrimp is heated through and the sauce thickens. Serve hot, garnished with cilantro.
Amount Per Serving Calories 415 Total Fat 18g Saturated Fat 2g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 15g Cholesterol 359mg Sodium 2112mg Carbohydrates 13g Fiber 1g Sugar 3g Protein 41g