Do you remember how I said I would have updates on the birthday party today? Well, I’m not quite ready yet. Please forgive me. Until then, here’s a recipe I’ve been meaning to blog for awhile. This post has been sitting in my draft folder for eons now, I keep forgetting to resurrect it. So, now’s my chance. This photo was taken during my last food shoot with Jon Canlas — isn’t he an amazing photographer?
Honey Walnut Shrimp is one of those dishes that for years, I have failed at. Miserably. The batter was always soggy. Never crispy. Too clumpy. The shrimp, way over cooked. The sauce? Too thin. Too sweet. Never quite right.
I didn’t start obsessing about fried shrimp kissed with sweet honey sauce until I was in my second trimester with my first baby. Maybe it was something about become a new mom — or maybe my inner-Asian was bursting to get out — but during my pregnancy, all I wanted to eat was Chinese/Thai/Lao food. Basically, dishes my mom made growing up. Food I never fully appreciated until she was gone.
So when this craving hit, I became a woman possessed.
My poor husband became the human garbage can. He ate all my horrible cooking experiments gone wrong, and assuring me all the while, that I could do this. I think we once had shrimp for dinner for an entire week straight. Despite all my efforts in the kitchen, I never conquered this shrimp recipe during that pregnancy.
Flash forward two years, and I am once again pregnant. Once again, infatuated with this unattainable recipe. Lucky for me, I’m much more confident behind the stove. I start the experiment again, and this time — success!
Now, instead of tears of frustration, I weep from happiness. I am so delighted with my creation, I hang on to this new glorious recipe and make it again, and again, and again. We still eat Honey Walnut Shrimp for another week straight. I think it was during this time that Brendan suspects he might be mildly allergic to shrimp. He eats it anyway and doesn’t tell me till later. What a great husband.
I love this recipe because it’s fairly simple and quick — if you’ve already got candied walnuts. Even with the half hour marinating time for the shrimp, it’s a pretty fast process. The cornstarch makes the batter light, and the sauce is creamy and sweet. This is something I can eat all the time — even when I’m not expecting.
Honey Walnut Shrimp
1 egg white
1 tablespoon white wine
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lb. medium shrimp (31-40), peeled and deveined
for honey sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cornstarch
canola oil for frying
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
In a medium bowl, beat egg white until foamy. Mix in the white wine, white pepper and kosher salt. Add the raw shrimp to the mixture, stir gently to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate.
Meanwhile, make the honey sauce. Whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, rice vinegar and kosher salt. Set aside.
Place the cornstarch in a shallow dish, like a pie pan. After the shrimp has had time to marinate, coat each shrimp with a layer of cornstarch.
Next, heat a frying pan on medium heat. Generously cover the bottom of the pan with oil. Once heated, place shrimp in pan and fry for one minute on each side, or no longer opaque in color. Remove from heat.
Toss the cooked shrimp with the honey sauce mixture and add the candied walnuts, chopped cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. Stir till everything is incorporated. Serve with hot rice.