Chinese Walnut Shrimp

We recently got back from a trip from the gulf. It was a trip that was long overdue. We had lots of rest and relaxation, as well as lots of great seafood. The food down there was something I could never get sick of, especially the shrimp. Since we have been back home for a couple of weeks, that shrimp was still on my mind. So as I normally do, I began purging items from our freezer and noticed a big bag of whole shrimp. I was stoked to say the least and knew exactly what I was going to make with them. Chinese walnut shrimp!

I can’t say this would be a dish that I would order at a Chinese restaurant but one I know that my wife loves and has talked about in the past. It was time for me to step up and impress my wife with this simple, and really tasting Chinese walnut shrimp. The kicker is the sauce, and trust me you will love it.

Chinese Walnut Shrimp Recipe
Chinese Walnut Shrimp Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the walnuts:

  • 2 cups roughly chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for the shrimp:

  • 3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • splash of rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup Japanese mayonnaise or your favorite
  • 1 cup of fine corn meal or cornstarch
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • cooked jasmine rice

The oil that will be used to crisp up the walnuts will be reused for the shrimp, so don’t discard it.

You will want to start by heating your oil on medium heat.  As the oil heats, go ahead and make a simple syrup. Heat another small pot on medium heat and add the water and sugar.  Bring that to a simmer, then remove it from the heat. The oil should be heated now.

Add the walnuts to the oil and cook them for a few minutes. Just be careful as you do not want to burn them. After a few minutes, remove the walnuts with a slotted spoon and place on a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil and season with salt.

Once the walnuts are strained, add them to the simple syrup and and give that a good stir, coating all of the walnuts. Add them to a parchment paper lined tray, and try to keep them from sticking together. Set aside.

Chinese Walnut Shrimp Ingredients
Chinese Walnut Shrimp Ingredients

Next, make your sauce. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, condensed milk, honey, and salt to a mixing bowl, and stir well. Set aside on the counter.

Now to the shrimp. Reheat the oil to about 350 degrees. During this time, add the shrimp to the cornmeal (or cornstarch), and toss them around to make sure they are full coated. Once the oil is heated, take a few shrimp, enough to not crowd the pan of oil, and shake off any excess cornmeal, and gently drop them into the oil. Cook the shrimp for only a few minutes as you want crispy, succulent shrimp.

Place the cooked shrimp in a mixing bowl, season with a bit of salt, and repeat this process until all shrimp are cooked.

Cook your broccoli in boiling water for about two minutes, then blanch them in cold water.  Strain and set aside.

Add the sauce to the bowl of shrimp and gently stir, coating all of the shrimp in that delicious sauce.

Now time to plate.

I like to add cooked rice to a bowl, pack it in, then flip the bowl over onto a large serving plate. Pour the shrimp over the rice, then garnish around the rice and shrimp the broccoli. Pour over the candied walnuts, and now you are in business!

My wife, who did not know I was making this dish was floored and fell in love with it. Real deal is what I think I heard her say, but regardless this had me sold. And that shrimp… oh yeah that shrimp was something to write about. I hope you enjoy!

Char Siu Pork Ribs

I am a huge fan of Chinese char siu pork. If you have never had it, it is basically a reddish colored pork (primarily from red food coloring which is optional), and perfectly seasoned from things like Chinese five spice and other wonderful ingredients. So this past week, pork ribs were on sale and I knew my kids would love for me to go out into the cold, and smoke some ribs, but that was not about to happen, especially with a lot of people kidding bad colds around these parts. So instead I came up with two batches of ribs, one Chinese char siu style and the other using a rub from Dizzy Pig.

Char Siu Pork Ribs Recipe
Char Siu Pork Ribs Recipe

These almost fall apart Chinese char siu pork ribs will have you smacking your lips and licking those fingers.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of pork ribs, membrane removed from the backside
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice (a little goes a long way)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp dark Sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/4 water
  • 1 tbsp red food coloring, optional
  • Cooked Jasmine rice, optional

I know this sounds like a bunch of stuff, but most should be stocked in your household for standard Asian style cooking.

I like to cut my ribs into 4 rib segments so that they fit nicely into a sealable bag.

Start by making the marinade. To a mixing bowl add everything but the honey, ketchup, water, and food coloring.

Give a good mix, then add your ribs to a sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade into the bag, seal, and gently toss the marinade around so it penetrates all of the ribs. Place into your refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.

Char Siu Pork Ribs Ingredients
Char Siu Pork Ribs Ingredients

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. We are going to cook these ribs low and slow, then increase the heat over time.

During this time, take the ribs out and set the bag onto the counter for about 20 minutes or so to take off the chill.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and using tongs, remove the ribs from the bag and let any excess marinade fall into the bag. Reserve the marinade as this is going to cook down with the sauce.

Place the ribs in the oven and cook for about 2 hours. About 1 1/2 hours in, crank the heat to 350 degrees.

Take the reserved marinade and add it to a pot on the stove. Add the water, ketchup, red food coloring, and honey and give a good stir. Cook this on medium-low heat until it has reduced by half, and adjust the heat to low if necessary. This is going to be our glazing mixture to finish the ribs.

Take a look at the ribs. Once they begin to slightly caramelize (you know how you like your ribs), slide the oven rack out so you have access to the baking sheet, and begin brushing on the glaze, all over the ribs. Return back into the oven, cook for a few more minutes, then repeat with the glaze. Keep an eye on them as you do not want the glaze to burn. Repeat this a few times, then once you are satisfied, remove them from the oven, finish with another brushing of the cooked glaze mixture, and plate and serve.

Serve alongside cooked rice, and you have yourself one heck of a meal. If you are looking to jazz up some ribs, and want to go to a great Chinese route, give these a try, I’m almost certain you are going to love them. Hope you enjoy!

Chinese Orange Chicken

It was not too long ago when we went to visit my wife’s uncle who was in town visiting. Chinese food was on the menu, and there was one thing, the orange chicken, where I could not get enough of. There is something about this Chinese orange chicken that just has you coming back for more. I’m not sure if it is the sauce, or the crispy nuggets of chicken. Heck, it’s probably the combination that got me. So after I have made lemon chicken, which is somewhat similar, I decided to take my stab at making this delicious recipe.

Chinese Orange Chicken Recipe
Chinese Orange Chicken Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups of canola oil, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ½ cup corn starch, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
  • 3 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • ½ tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • zest of 2 oranges, juice of 1 orange
  • Cooked jasmine rice

Start by making the sauce. To a small mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, dark sesame oil, sugar, vinegar, orange zest, one tablespoon of corn starch, and orange juice. Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Set the mixture to the side until it is ready to use.

Next, get a dredging station together. To one bowl, mix the eggs, salt, and black pepper.  To another bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch.

To a frying pan, add the 2 cups of canola and bring it to a medium heat. Once your oil reaches 350 degrees, you are ready to fry the chicken. During this time, add the chicken pieces to the egg mixture, lift up and allow the egg mixture to drip off a bit, then add into the flour mixture, making sure you coat the chicken. Gently shake off any excess flour mixture, the place into the preheated frying pan.

Do this in batches. Cook for a few minutes, until nice and golden brown. Remove with your kitchen spider or slotted spoon, and place onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Chinese Orange Chicken Ingredients
Chinese Orange Chicken Ingredients

After all of the chicken is cooked, take another large skillet, and add the additional oil.

Heat to a medium heat, then toss in the ginger and garlic paste. Cook for about 30 seconds, then mix in the green onions and chili flakes. Add the Chinese rice wine, give a good stir, then add in the sauce mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken, and the sugar dissolve. Once you have accomplished that, add in the chicken pieces, give a good stir, and serve over jasmine rice.

Did this remind me of the Chinese orange chicken weeks ago? Yes. Was it better? Yes. Did it quiet my kitchen table from all of my hungry eaters? Yes.

If you are looking for a spectacular orange chicken recipe, and one that is super easy to make, give this one a try. It will satisfy your Chinese food cravings, plus it feeds a small army. Hope you enjoy!

Chinese Orange Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1½″ pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups of canola oil, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ½ cup corn starch, plus 1 additional tbsp
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
  • 3 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • ½ tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Ingredients for the sauce:
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • zest of 2 oranges, juice of 1 orange
  • Cooked jasmine rice
Instructions
  1. Start by making the sauce. To a small mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, dark sesame oil, sugar, vinegar, orange zest, one tablespoon of corn starch, and orange juice. Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Set the mixture to the side until it is ready to use.
  2. Next, get a dredging station together. To one bowl, mix the eggs, salt, and black pepper. To another bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch.
  3. To a frying pan, add the 2 cups of canola and bring it to a medium heat. Once your oil reaches 350 degrees, you are ready to fry the chicken. During this time, add the chicken pieces to the egg mixture, lift up and allow the egg mixture to drip off a bit, then add into the flour mixture, making sure you coat the chicken. Gently shake off any excess flour mixture, the place into the preheated frying pan.
  4. Do this in batches. Cook for a few minutes, until nice and golden brown. Remove with your kitchen spider or slotted spoon, and place onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  5. After all of the chicken is cooked, take another large skillet, and add the additional oil.
  6. Heat to a medium heat, then toss in the ginger and garlic paste. Cook for about 30 seconds, then mix in the green onions and chili flakes. Add the Chinese rice wine, give a good stir, then add in the sauce mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken, and the sugar dissolve. Once you have accomplished that, add in the chicken pieces, give a good stir, and serve over jasmine rice.

 

Chille Blue Crabs

Hands down, blue crabs are one of my favorite things to eat. Well, maybe not as they compete with pizza, tacos, and nachos, but you know what I mean. There is something about the blue crab that I truly love. Granted there is not a whole lot of crab meat on these little suckers, but it’s finger food, and to me finger food is not only fun, but it’s somewhat sexy. As I noted in the past, it’s hard to find blue crabs in Milwaukee. As I dissed an Asian market I used to go to, Anh Chau, only due to their crappy customer service, I have been frequenting a local market known as Mei Hua. I’ve been there enough where I chat with the owner, and as I always do I ask a lot of questions about produce, and seafood. I recently asked if they were going to get any crawfish, or better yet blue crab, and she sparked up, like what the heck did I know about blue crab! She stated she orders once a week, and that’s when I was sold.

Chinese Chilli Blue Crab Recipe

I pulled in the day she ordered, I think it was a Tuesday, or Thursday, and knew actually where to go. The box with what looked like to be stagnant crabs, that is until you poke them with the tongs.

One of the workers looked at me like I had no idea what the heck I was doing, and funny enough she was trying to help me (I am experienced at this, trust me, but I let her help only for my own entertainment), and we began using the tongs to toss them in a double paper bag. She insisted.

The kids were not home from school yet, and my wife was still at work, and that’s when I decided to clean these live crabs. When you do this, depending on how you feel, it’s something that you may or may not want your family around for, as basically as you are using a knife to take out the crab, ripping it apart, and tearing out it’s lungs, etc. I figured I would move quickly, and just have what I needed for the chilli crabs.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • ~ 10-15 live blue crabs, rinsed and cleaned
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Sambal Oelek 
  • 1 large shallot, medium slice
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, torn (optional)
  • napkins
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by using tongs to grab your live crab. This is always fun as they like to attack your tongs. Flip the crab over onto it’s back, and puncture it with a sharp knife, right in the middle. Yes, this is often painful to watch, but it has got to be done. Now with your knife, split the crab in half, lengthwise. The important thing here is to remove the gills, up near the face, as well as removing the apron, near the bottom. Once those are removed, rinse the crab in cold water, and set aside, repeating the process.

Keep the crabs cold, covering with a bit of ice cubes. During this time, make the sauce.

To a small mixing bowl, add the ketchup, rice wine vinegar, water, and sambal oelek. Give a good stir.

Heat a large wok, or skillet on medium heat, and let this heat up for a few minutes.

Toss in the oil, and then toss in the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry that for a couple of minutes. Now add in the crabs.

How to make Chilli Blue Crabs

Toss those crabs in the garlic mixture, then add in the sauce mixture. Carefully stir, and toss until the crabs are coated.

Cook for about 15 minutes, if that, and then pour out onto a large serving dish.

Shower with the fried garlic and fresh cilantro, and dig in. Pull off the legs, split the body, pull and crack the claws, and go for it. Suck, splurp, and suck your fingers.

My wife and kids are not a big fan of the blue crabs, and as much of that is a bit of a disappointment,   I’m not going to point fingers and blame. That just means there is more for me!

Get a bib. Get some napkins. Dig in. This is a shell sucking, shell pulling, and little fork poker feat. Sweet, spicey, garlicky, and delicious. I felt bad when my wife came home, and I probably looked like a total mess as she was trying to have a conversation with me. Yes, it was that good.

If you are looking for a fun crab dish to eat, and a fun experience (cleaning crabs), go for it. You will not be disappointed, and by the way, I have yet to go back to Anh Chau, but they do still order blue crabs from what I understand, and with hope, they have picked up their service game.

Another one to try is my blue crab curry. Whoa.