Malaysian Stir-Fried Shrimp and Snow Peas
I know it’s not a Thanksgiving dinner, and it probably never will be, but I have already been having my fair share of Thanksgiving meals since the dawn of last week: Andy’s butternut squash pie, creamed spinach, roasted beets, and all sorts of meats cooked in all sorts of ways. And, there was this voice at the back of my head, haunting me, ‘Mo,’ make a stir-fry, make a stir-fry. I was tempted to resist that voice, but I gave in and didn’t regret a moment. Shrimp and snow peas, say wha? A hard combination to beat.
Everybody knows the model weeknight dinner is a stir-fry. It’s fast, easy and you don’t have to do much clean up once it’s done. There are some guidelines that need to be adhered to achieve the best results. Below are a list of dos and don’ts.
1) Choose one vegetable and one protein. Most home cooks tend to use everything in their refrigerator, but it’s not necessary.
2) Cook your proteins and vegetables separately. Combine them only after they are fully cooked. Cooking your proteins and vegetables together will result in some undercooked and some overcooked meats and vegetables.
3) Once the proteins hit the pan, resist the temptation of stirring it around. This step will ensure a nice golden brown crust on the outer layer of your proteins. Vegetables however, need to be stirred frequently to ensure even cooking.
4) Add liquids and seasoning at the end of the cooking process.
5) Surface and heat go hand in hand. Unless you have a stove top that has a burner made for a wok, don’t use one. Use a flat-bottomed skillet with lots of surface space. You should heat the pan as hot as possible, until smoke is rendered. This will give you the deepest sear and seal in the natural flavors.
Serves 4 people
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 clove of garlic. finely chopped
1 piece of ginger (4-5 cm), finely chopped
1/2 lb. snow peas
2-4 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of Shaoxing cooking wine or rice wine
A pinch of crushed red peppers
White pepper to taste
1) Preheat a sauté pan or wide surfaced skillet until smokey.
2) Add in the oil and shrimp.
3) Resist the urge of moving the shrimp around. Let them sear on one side for 2-3 minutes, then flip them over.
4) Toss in the garlic, ginger and snow peas. Cook for another two minutes.
5) Pour in the liquids and season with white pepper and crushed red peppers.
Serve this with steamed white rice.