I love Panda Express food, but unfortunately there isn’t a franchise within a hundred miles of our new home, so it’s been a long long time since I had any honey-walnut shrimp. That’s why this copycat recipe was so intriguing.
The shrimp I bought at Chef’s Store was de-veined, shelled, and without tails. Rather surprisingly, the three-pound bag didn’t cost an arm and a leg (maybe just a few fingers and toes). It’s clearly not something I’ll purchase very often, but it wasn’t as pricey as I’d feared.
Here’s the recipe:
1 c. water
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. walnuts
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
1 c. cornstarch
Vegetable oil for frying
1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. heavy cream
Cooked white rice, for serving
Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add walnuts and let boil for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove walnuts and let cool on a small baking sheet.
- Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place eggs in a shallow bowl and cornstarch in another shallow bowl. Dip shrimp in eggs, then in cornstarch coating well.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1” of oil. Add shrimp in batches and fry until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, honey, and heavy cream. Toss shrimp in sauce. Serve over rice with candied walnuts and garnish with green onions.
I decided to double the recipe, and (ahem) increase the amount of walnuts by a bit since I love walnuts.
As it turns out, that was a mistake. As much as I love walnuts, this dish shouldn’t be overwhelmed by them. Next time I’ll scale the nuts way back.
Following the directions, I let the shrimp defrost and drain, then patted it dry with towels.
I chopped up the nuts a bit…
…then boiled them in sugar-water for a couple minutes.
I scooped the nuts out of the sugar water and laid them on a sheet.
Next up, the coating for the shrimp. This consists of beaten eggs in one bowl, and cornstarch in another.
First I added a bit of salt and pepper to the shrimp…
…then dumped the shrimp into the eggs and mixed to coat them well.
Then I dumped all of that into the cornstarch bowl. This may not be the scientifically precise way to do things in the culinary world, but what I can say, I’m a lazy cook.
I made sure everything was stirred and thoroughly coated.
Meanwhile I heated some olive oil in a pot. I seldom fry anything, so this step had me the most worried because I wasn’t sure how hot the oil should be before adding the shrimp. I guess frying is fairly forgiving, because I gently lowered the shrimp (about half at a time) into the pot, and it went fine.
I did have to break up the shrimp as it fried, since it wanted to clump together with the cornstarch, but that was no big deal.
While the shrimp was frying, I mixed up the sauce (mayonnaise, honey, cream)…
…and stirred it.
I scooped the fried shrimp out of the oil and let it drain on paper towels.
Then it was time to mix everything together.
Okay, folks, this turned out to be fabulous.
The only mistake, as I mentioned, was adding too many walnuts. I’ll definitely scale that back next time I make this dish.
Shrimp is too expensive to repeat this recipe very often, but as an occasional treat, it’s wonderful!
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