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Honey Walnut Shrimp

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:

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

EQUIPMENT

  • Small sauce pan
  • Medium or large skillet (work with whichever one you already have)
  • Slotted spoon or tongs

DIRECTIONS

  • 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.

NOTES

  • 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.

Happy Eating!

DLJ

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