The natural flavor of shrimp enhanced with cashew nuts, without the need for heavy sauces, is the style of cooking in Suzhou, China. Jin Wen Yuan is a trained chef and businessman in this charming area of China. He prepared this dish for my friend Joanna Preuss on her recent trip there. I’ve adapted the recipe for this quick dinner.
Here are some of her cooking tips for successful wok cooking:
- Prepare and then line up the ingredients before you cook.
- Preheat the wok or skillet before adding oil, so it sizzles when ingredients are added.
- Just barely cover the cashews with water when completing the dish.
- Look for raw or unsalted cashew nuts.
- Frozen snow peas can be used if fresh are not available.
- Prepare all ingredients.
- Make snow peas and rice.
- Make shrimp dish.
To buy: ¾ pound peeled and deveined shrimp, 1 package unsalted cashews, 1 bottle sesame oil, 1 small bunch scallions, 1 package snow peas (12 oz needed) and 1 package microwaveable brown rice.
Staples: egg, sugar, cornstarch, salt and black peppercorns.
Stir-fry shrimp and cashews
Yield: 2 servings
1 egg white, beaten
2 tsp. cornstarch
3 tsp. sesame oil, divided use
¾ lb. oz. unsalted cashews (about ½ c.)
2 scallions, including green parts, chopped, divided use (about ⅓ c.)
½ tsp. sugar
Salt to taste
Beat egg white and cornstarch together in a medium-size bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to evenly coat shrimp. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until hot. Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil and shrimp and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the cashews, half of the scallions, the sugar, salt and enough water to just cover the nuts; cover with a lid and steam 1 to 2 minutes. Return the shrimp to the wok. Stir to combine ingredients. Drizzle remaining oil and scallions on top and serve.