I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of Chinese food. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike it, but when given the choice it is usually not my first choice. If going Asian my first choice is always Indian or Japanese. I’d also rather eat Thai if that is a choice. Again, it’s not that I dislike Chinese food, I’m just not that enamored of it. Of course, there are exceptions and with a cuisine as diverse as Chinese can be, one would be very hard pressed, indeed, to not find something one likes. My wife, on the other hand, would probably eat Chinese almost every day, if she could, so occasionally I like to surprise her with a homemade Chinese meal.

The other day, I was in the mood for seafood and had one of those rare cravings for Chinese. I’m a big fan of Kung Pao Chicken and figured it would adapt well to shrimp. Countless others must have had the same thought as the Internet is full of Kung Pao Shrimp recipes. Unfortunately, they vary greatly in their content with some recipes only having shrimp and soy sauce in common with others. After reading a number of recipes I decided the best thing to do was pull out what I liked from various recipes and combine them into a dish that I would be happy to serve. The recipe below is the culmination of my research, and pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself.

The ingredient list looks rather long, but most of the stuff is pretty easy to find and, believe it or not, this recipe comes together rather quickly. This recipe makes a mildly spicy dish. Feel free to bump up the heat if you like it a little hotter.

Kung Pao Shrimp

serves 4

1 Tbsp. rice wine
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce (sambal)
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sugar

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (tail on or off-your choice)

3 Tbsp. vegetable or peanut oil
1 1/2 tsp. ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 dried chili peppers, whole
1/2 medium onion, large dice
1/2 red bell pepper, large dice
1/2 green bell pepper, large dice
1/2 cup cashews, roasted
1/4 cup green onion, chopped

Combine the first set of ingredients, to make sauce, and mix well. Set aside. In a large bowl combine the second set of ingredients and mix. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil and allow to heat briefly. Add the ginger, garlic and dried chili. Cook for 30 seconds then quickly add the onion and bell peppers. Cook for 2 minutes then add the shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn opaque and are cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Add the sauce and cook just until thickened. Toss in cashews. Divide shrimp among 4 plates, garnish with the green onion and serve with a side of rice.