My love affair with shrimp is legendary. It began when I was just a kid and ordered something called “prawns” at the local A&W. (these were not, in fact, prawns; just jumbo shrimp. We Americans seem to have an issue with the distinction.) At that time in my life, it was something new, exotic, and completely different from anything I’d previously experienced. It was before I’d had crayfish, or salmon, or lobster. I was a seafood virgin then, but one taste of those little breaded and fried crustaceans was enough. I was hooked, and there was no turning back.
I have since learned that shrimp is far more versatile than I ever could have imagined at the time. It’s flavor can go from savory to sweet, it plays well with others, and it’s a breeze to prepare, especially if bought frozen and peeled. Simply take the number of shrimp you want, place in a bowl and run under cold water for three to five minutes and they’re ready to go. No fuss, no muss, just pat dry and get to cooking!
This dish was created in true Seat of my Pants style. All I knew for certain when I started was the I wanted to use cellophane noodles, and that I wanted a stir fry. The rest I just came up with as I went along. The result… Spicy, sweet and satisfying. The shrimp could be used as an appetizer by themselves if you wish, I just really wanted those noodles!
- 12-18 shrimp (large, 20-25ct), peeled and deveined, with tails removed (if desired)
- 1 tbsp. chili garlic sauce (I use Túóng ót tón Viet-Nam)
- 1 tsp. minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Soy sauce to cover (approx 1/4 cup)
- 1 cup mixed bell peppers (I used frozen, if using fresh, use one red bell, cut in chopstick sized strips)
- 1/2 of one white onion, chopped
- 2 bundles cellophane noodles (Also known as bean thread noodles or Sai Fun noodles)
- 2 – 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp corn starch
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soy Sauce, if needed to loosen sauce
- Mix chili garlic sauce, ginger, garlic and a bit of soy sauce in a small to medium sized lidded storage container until combined. Add shrimp and toss gently, until shrimp are coated well. Add soy sauce to cover. Cover and place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours. (overnight is better.)
- Prepare all remaining ingredients and have them ready. (This is a stir fry… Very hot pan, sensitive cooking times… There will be no time to prep during cooking.)
- Heat 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large soup pan or stock pot. Add Sai Fun Noodles and stir until they begin to separate. Boil gently for 5 to 7 minutes, or until noodles are done to your liking. place noodles in strainer and run under cold water until cool to the touch. Set aside.
- Remove shrimp from marinade and strain, reserving marinade.
- Mix cornstarch with marinade until smooth, place with other ingredients for easy access.
- Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet or wok over high heat. Add vegetable oil and sesame oil. Allow to heat until just smoking. If using frozen peppers, add now and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. If peppers are defrosted or fresh, add peppers and onions ans cook, stirring constantly until vegetables are crisp-tender. (they should still have a bit of crunch to them.)
- Add reserved marinade and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. If sauce appears too thick, add additional soy sauce until desired constancy is achieved. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add shrimp, stirring frequently for approximately 45 seconds to 1 minute. Remove pan from heat.
- Arrange noodles on plate, spoon 1/2 of shrimp mixture over each serving of noodles, serve immediately.
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
This came out an awful lot spicier than I was expecting, due to the age of my garlic chili sauce. It’s good to remember that once opened, these things tend to gain a lot of heat over time. I also think I would have preferred green onions over the white, but i wasn’t thinking and just started chopping away before I realized I had some in the fridge. Green onion tips cut in about 1-inch pieces are very chopstick friendly morsels, and work well whether you are using them or not.
For the sake of these photos I placed the sauce and meat over the veggies, but I would suggest tossing the noodles in with the sauce before serving, it makes everything a tad easier to eat.
Links to other recipes like this: