This one is out of my comfort zone.
Although I love Asian food, I normally don’t try to cook it because for some weird reason I think it’s really hard and complicated, and it makes me anxious. That’s another story for another day.
Honey Walnut Shrimp is one of those dishes that I alwaaaaays order when it’s on a menu at a Chinese restaurant. So you can only imagine my joy during one night in college (when my sister & I lived together in a tiny apartment), my sister’s boyfriend (now brother-in-law) surprised us by cooking Honey Walnut Shrimp for dinner! I was so amazed and probably BEGGED him a million times to make it over and over and over. And he kept saying “it’s so easy, you can do it!” But I never tried.
…then my heart broke when I found out they were moving to the north east after they got married. Who’s going to cook me some Honey Walnut Shrimp when I want it? More importantly, who’s going to feed me now that they’re both gone?
After pouting for several months, I decided to learn how to make it. I wanted to punch myself in the teeth because it was actually a SUPER simple recipe! Even Helen Keller could make this dish.
While I don’t cook this dish very often, it’s still one of the only Asian dishes I dabble in when I’m craving it.
Here’s how to make it:
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I like Duke’s Mayo)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons condensed milk
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (if you buy the frozen ones, just make sure to defrost it first)
- Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup cornstarch, more or less
- Small sauce pan
- Medium or large skillet (work with whichever one you already have)
- Slotted spoon or tongs
- Heat the vegetable oil in a medium/large skillet over medium heat.
- Stir the water & sugar together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir consistently until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the walnuts and toss to coat. Drain the remaining sugar water and place the walnuts on a parchment paper-lined bowl to dry. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, honey, and condensed milk. Set aside.
- Season the shrimp with salt and pepper to taste.
- One at a time, dip the shrimp into the egg, then the cornstarch. Press to coat.
- At this time, the oil should be hot enough! To test, sprinkle a little bit of water in the oil. If it sizzles, then it’s hot enough.
- Add the shrimp, about 10 at a time (more or less depending on what size your skillet is), to the skillet and fry. After 2 minutes, stir around the shrimp and fry for an additional 2 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer fried shrimp to a paper towel-lined plate.
- After all the shrimp is golden and crispy, toss the shrimp and walnuts in the mayo/honey/condensed milk mixture.
- Best when served immediately.
- I know, I know. Mayo is not the most appetizing ingredient to see in a recipe. I promise, you will barely taste it!
- Parchment paper is important for the walnuts! When the sugar water dries, the bowl will be really hard to clean if you don’t line it with parchment paper.
- I eat this shrimp with white rice. Although I’ve never tried, I’m sure it will pair well with fried rice or steamed leafy greens like bok choy or cabbage.