One of our go-to dishes whenever we ate at Chinese restaurants, this stir fry is a good illustration of the importance of combining contrast in flavor, texture and color to make a dish appetizing. And it’s not difficult to make it at home so long as you have the right ingredients. And stir frying skills, of course.
We buy our shrimps frozen and fully cleaned. If using fresh shrimps that still need to be cleaned and deveined, the prep time will be twice as long. The advantage of using fresh shrimps is that you’ll have shrimp heads and shells that you can boil and mash to make shrimp broth that you can cool and freeze, and use for another dish.
You decide which is more suitable: fresh or frozen. Whether using fresh or thawed frozen shrimps, don’t forget to press them between stacks of paper towels to remove surface moisture. This is a stir fry so you want the shrimps to sear immediately once they touch the hot pan. And that won’t happen if they are wet.
Roasted cashew nuts are used here. We prefer salted but unsalted will work too. If you can’t get roasted cashew nuts, just toss unroasted ones in an oil-free pan until browned and glistening.
You’ll also need an onion which you have to peel and slice thinly. Frozen sweet peas must be thawed completely and drained well.
Mix the ingredients for the sauce before you start cooking. The cooking time is very short and you don’t want the shrimps to get overcooked because you’re still mixing your sauce.
The cooking begins with sauteeing. Cook the onion slices over medium heat until they start to go limp then turn up the heat, add the shrimps, season with salt and pepper, and cook on both sides just until they change color.
Add the peas and cashew nuts, stir fry, pour in the sauce and cook until the liquid thickens and is no longer cloudy. And that’s it, really. The shrimps will be fully cooked by the time the sauce is done.
10-minute shrimp, peas and cashew stir fry
- 8 to 10 large shrimps peeled, deveined and heads removed
- 2 tablespoons toasted cashew nuts
- 1 small onion
- 2 tablespoons sweet peas
To stir fry
- 1 ½ teaspoons cooking oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅙ teaspoon ground pepper
- Line a plate with paper towels, arrange the shrimps in a single layer, place more paper towels on top and press lightly to remove as much surface moisture as possible.
- If your cashew nuts are not toasted yet, do it now in an oil-free pan.
- Peel and slice the onion.
- Drain the thawed sweet peas.
- In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan and saute the sliced onion for about half a minute.
- Turn up the heat, add the shrimps, sprinkle in the salt and pepper, and stir fry for half a minute or just the until the shrimps change color.
- Add the peas and cashew nuts, and stir fry for ten seconds.
- Stir the sauce in the bowl (starch has a nasty way of settling at the bottom) and pour into the pan.
- Stir fry for another half a minute or just until the sauce is clear and thick (the shrimps will be cooked through at this point.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed, before serving your shrimp, peas and cashew stir fry.