Recently the kids and I have been talking about eating vegetarian meals more often, and we decided to drag Andy along with us. We're starting off very slow and easy, with Meatless Mondays. And for now, by "meatless" we mean no beef, pork, lamb, or poultry, but we're allowing seafood. I don't want it to turn into Plate Full of Pasta Mondays, and I'm not sure my kids (and husband) are ready for legumes, so we're taking baby steps.
Will you join us? We're aiming to get a little healthier while we do our part for the planet. Read more here.
Tonight was our first Meatless Monday, and I found an interesting recipe in my ever-expanding accordion file. I can't recall where I clipped it, but a little Googling suggests it might have been from Bon Appétit (although I can't find it on the Epicurious site). It's reportedly a signature dish at the Yang Chow restaurant in L.A.'s Chinatown. What I can tell you is that it was delicious! We ate it all. However, that single teaspoon of cayenne really went a long way toward burning our lips and tongues off, especially the kids. Next time I will try it with about half as much cayenne. But the texture of the shrimp, after being coated in cornstarch and then quickly fried, was luscious. The sauce came together so quickly it was more like a chemistry experiment than cooking, and all I needed to serve alongside it was some sticky white rice and a salad. I wish I'd taken a photo, because it looked very sexy—sort of like General Gau's shrimp (or chicken). All in all it was a very successful inaugural Meatless Monday chez Verbatim.
Make sure you have everything ready to go before you start—it all happens fast.
2 lbs uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons water
1 cup corn oil or vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons dry sherry (I used white wine.)
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
Mix shrimp and 6 tablespoons cornstarch in a large bowl to coat. Mix remaining 4 teaspoons cornstarch and 4 teaspoons water in a small bowl to blend.
Heat oil in heavy large skillet or wok over high heat. Working in batches, fry shrimp until cooked through and golden on both sides, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer cooked shrimp to plate.
Drain all but 1 tablespoon oil from wok and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic, sugar, cayenne, and salt; stir constantly until garlic begins to brown, about 15 seconds. Add tomato sauce, vinegar, and sherry; stir cornstarch-water mixture if separated and add to sauce. Cook until sauce boils and thickens, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add reserved shrimp to sauce and stir to coat. Remove from heat and add 1 cup green onions to sauce and toss.
Transfer to large bowl and serve with white rice.