Kung Pao Shrimp

This is one of my mom's signature dishes, and now I'm sharing it with you.

September 13, 2017
Kung Pao Shrimp
Anna Williams

Adapted from Zac Posen's new cookbook, Cooking with Zac: Recipes From Rustic to Refined

This dish is one of my mom's signature dishes; she makes it frequently throughout the year, but always, always at New Year's. My dad likes things that are sweet and sour, so Kung Pao Shrimp fits the bill. It must be eaten just after it is cooked in the wok. It's good served with white rice or clear noodles—something that will take up the delicious sauce.


Kung Pao Shrimp
(Makes 4 servings)


  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1 pound 16/20 shrimp, peeled, deveined, and dried with paper towels

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1 cup peanut oil

  • 12 garlic cloves, very finely minced

  • 1 piece (2" long) fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped

  • 8 scallions, green parts only, sliced on a bias into 1" pieces

  • Steamed white rice, for serving

1. Whisk together the sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce in a medium bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

2. Line a large plate with a paper towel and set aside. Add the dried shrimp to a medium bowl and toss with the cornstarch. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or slope-sided large and deep skillet over high heat until it just starts to smoke, about 2 minutes. Add a shrimp—it should be immediately surrounded by bubbles (if it isn't, continue to heat the oil until bubbles engulf the shrimp). Continue adding the shrimp to the pan quickly but one at a time. Cook, turning them often with tongs, until they are tightly curled, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or frying spider to transfer the shrimp to the paper towel-lined plate.


3. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring often, until it is very fragrant and just starting to take on color, about 2 minutes. Pour in the soy-vinegar mixture and bring it to a simmer. Return the shrimp to the pan and toss to coat until the sauce is thick and glossy, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the shrimp to a platter. Serve sprinkled with scallions and with rice on the side.