Dinner Rush! Miso-Honey Shrimp Stir-Fry
As a nerdy, husky jeans-clad teenager growing up in Northern New York, I always had a soft spot for Chinese takeout night. Like clockwork each week, origami cardboard containers of exotic concoctions like moo goo gai pan, boneless beef spare ribs, lo mein, and chicken with cashews would arrive in a sawed-off cardboard box and be subsequently devoured, funny-shaped flavorless cookies and all. It wasn't until many years later — when I actually began to study the flavors and cooking methods of East Asia — that I realized how truly awful most of it was. I was just a hungry, hungry little hippo. What was I supposed to know? Knowledge can be a funny thing that way.
Which is why Chinese takeout night still rocks the party in my house. My husband and I crave the Iron Chef-esque challenge of taking the greasy, over-sauced memories of yesteryear and re-creating them over a couple of Tsingtaos or sake margaritas.
This stir-fry is one such success story, namely because I love the "a-ha" moment that all of our friends have when I tell them what's in it ("Wait, I thought miso was a soup"). Miso is a fermented soy bean paste that is loaded with all things savory, sweet and deliciously right about East Asian cuisine. I know it may feel a bit like an over-commitment when you pick up that tub from the grocery store, but go with me on this one. The further down the miso rabbit hole you dig, the more you'll wonder just how it is you got so far, for so long, without it.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the miso, honey, soy sauce and Sriracha. Set aside.
Place a large skillet over high heat with the oil. Add the shrimp to the skillet and stir-fry until the shrimp just begin to turn pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, bell pepper, carrots and snow peas to the pan, and continue stir-frying until the vegetables just begin to tenderize, about 1 minute. Add the reserved sauce to the skillet and stir-fry until the shrimp is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Adjust the seasoning with soy sauce and Sriracha. Serve the stir-fry over the steamed rice garnished with the bean sprouts.
NOTE: Like all good recipes, this one is easily adapted to suit your tastes. Feel free to swap out the shrimp for an equal amount of chicken, beef, pork, extra-firm tofu or even more vegetables.
Patrick W. Decker's life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary team for Food Network stars like Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and Paula Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day, and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest Tweets on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com .