Kung Pao Shrimp with Cashews

Be forewarned: This dish is extremely hot; for a milder taste, use fewer chilies. Look for raw cashews at health food stores or nut stores.

1 C. jumbo raw cashews
1 1/2 T. dark soy sauce
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 t. sugar
1 t. roasted sesame oil
2 T. peanut oil
1/2 t. salt
8 small dried red chilies
2 t. minced ginger root
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch squares
1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, patted dry

Heat oven to 325F. Spread cashews in single layer in flat pan; roast until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove; set aside.

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil in small bowl; set aside.

Heat wok or skillet over medium heat until hot; pour in peanut oil. Add salt and dried chilies; cook until charred, 15 seconds. Add ginger and garlic; stir-fry until fragrant and lightly browned, about 30 seconds.

Increase heat to high; add bell pepper; stir-fry until pepper is seared, 30 seconds. Add shrimp, a handful at a time; stir-fry until shrimp are pink and feel firm to the touch, about 2 minutes. Add reserved sauce mixture; toss. Stir until sauce thickens to a glaze, about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat. Gently stir in reserved roasted cashews. Serve hot.

Yield: 6 servings


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