Every time I think I’ve found my one, true, put-a-ring-on-it stir fry, I go and find another. It always comes down to the fact that I can’t commit to just one sauce. I’m always tasting new ones in restaurants, riffing on old favorites, or…forgetting to follow my last recipe, and what do you know, a new stir fry is born. This Szechuan shrimp stir fry is no different; it’s just better :)
Szechuan Shrimp Stir Fry
When you’re making a stir fry, you’re going for quick, easy, and flavorful, so here are my tips for getting it done:
Use the largest pan you have (a wok or 12-inch nonstick skillet)
To ensure that your meat and veggies cook perfectly and don’t steam and end up rubbery, avoid crowding your pan–cooking too much at once. Cook each ingredient (or group of ingredients, in the case of similar veggies) separately. This way, you can spread your ingredients evenly and adjust for varying cooking times.
Use a high heat oil
To cook at high heat, you need an oil that can sustain that temperature and not smoke or burn. Best options: canola, vegetable, grapeseed, avocado, safflower…Read Bon Appetit’s guide to cooking oils!
Make a sauce that hits all 5 tastes
Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. To hit all 5, you need to build a bold sauce. Some staples: aromatics like garlic, ginger, and scallion, honey or sugar for sweetness, a little toasted sesame oil or hoisin sauce for some smoky warmth and depth, a squeeze of fresh, sour citrus, rice wine vinegar for acidity, a kick of heat from chili paste (like Sambal Oelek), and soy or fish sauce for that special umami quality.
This szechuan shrimp stir fry has a punchy, flavor-packed sauce made from hoisin sauce, hot chile paste, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. It’s rich and slightly smoky with a little bit of a barbecue flavor from the hoisin. Add some veggies and serve it as is (it’s only 211 calories per serving!) or serve it over rice or noodles!
Szechuan Shrimp Stir Fry
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons hot chili paste recommended: Sambaal Oelek
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or any high heat cooking oil you like
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 4 scallions finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 ½ pounds medium raw shrimp tails removed, peeled and deveined
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk the hoisin, chili paste, ketchup, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil.
- In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat the oil over high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and shrimp, and cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp are just translucent (not gray any longer, but not bright pink), 1 minute.
- Add the sauce, stir to coat the shrimp, and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the shrimp to a serving platter. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
photos by Ashley McLaughlin Photography