Shrimp with Garlic and Chili

I had been missing Asian food and when I saw this recipe I knew this was the answer to my hankering.   There’s something about a subtle heat/spice that awakens all the senses.  I’m not a fan of over-the-top heat or spice especially if it makes me uncomfortable and unable to enjoy what’s on my plate.   Some people love that burning sensation and the hotter the better…not this chic!  Thanks to our experience in Asia, I do experiment with different peppers and know that I can tolerate poblano, Jalapeño, chipotle and serrano.  When it comes to bird’s eye chili  – the tiny Thai chili – I stay clear unless, of course, I’m going for that plumped up lip look!  There are many health benefits found in chili peppers from lowering blood pressure to fighting inflammation.  Click here to read more.

Serves 4
adapted from Fine Cooking

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of Chinese five-spice powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced into rounds
4 large scallions (green parts only), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1-1/2 lb. large shrimp (26 to 30 per lb.), peeled and deveined
3-1/2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

In a large plastic zip lock bag, mix the cornstarch, sugar, five-spice powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, chile, and scallions; set aside. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels.

Add the shrimp to the cornstarch mixture and shake until well coated. In a heavy-duty 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1-1/2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add half of the shrimp in a single layer. Cook without disturbing until deep golden and spotty brown on one side (about 2 minutes). Using tongs, quickly flip each shrimp and continue to cook until the second sides are spotty golden brown, about 1 minute longer. (The shrimp may not be cooked through at this point.) Transfer the shrimp to a board lined with paper towel. Add another tablespoon of the oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining shrimp, transferring them to the board when done. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the chile and scallions are softened and the garlic is golden and smells toasted, about 1 minute. Return the shrimp to the pan and stir to combine.  Serve immediately, with the lime wedges.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Serve the shrimp with a vegetable stir-fry or fried rice…there will be nothing left on the plate it’s that good!  Enjoy!