When we go to a Chinese buffet there are several dishes I always make sure to sample. One of them is Honey Walnut Shrimp. The sweet flavor of the sauce complements the brininess of the shrimp and the walnuts add a little extra crunch. Unlike visiting a buffet, making a dish like this at home puts you in charge of the ingredients. It takes a bit of effort, but once you take the first bite, you’ll have no regrets.
The Chinese New Year on January 28th is a great excuse to make this occasional treat. We served ours with cilantro lime rice and rounded out the meal with steamed broccoli. The recipe comes from Lalaine of Kawaling Pinoy and it’s simple enough to adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes.
You’ll save yourself some trouble if you purchase peeled and deveined shrimp but where I live they come with their heads on. It’s not a big deal to clean them but you need to be careful as there are some spiny bits on the head that can cut you. Once you remove the heads (it’s kind of a pinching/twisting motion…I try not to think too much about it), take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut along the back to expose the vein. Leave the tail intact. Peel the shell and use the tip of the scissors to remove the vein. It’s easier to get the vein out of the shrimp than to remove it from the point sometimes, but a paper towel will help a lot.
The candied walnuts that are tossed into the finished dish should be made first.
The batter is made from beaten egg whites and cornstarch. Mine didn’t cling to the shrimp as well as I would have liked, but it was nice and crispy. I’m not sure if I didn’t beat the egg whites enough, or if I let them set too long, but it’s definitely a technique I want to master as there are a few other dishes I’d like to try which use the same batter.
The sauce is incredibly sweet. You can adjust the amount of honey and condensed milk to moderate the sweetness.
To make the cilantro lime rice stir the juice and zest of a lime and and a handful of chopped cilantro to two cups prepared rice.
- ½ cup walnut halves
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 - 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 egg whites
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
- salt and pepper
- oil for frying (I used sunflower oil)
- Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook for 3 minutes.
- Use a strainer to remove the walnuts to parchment paper. Arrange in a single layer and let cool.
- Stir the mayo, sweetened condensed milk and honey together in a large bowl. Adjust the amounts to suit your taste. Set aside.
- Salt and pepper the shrimp and let stand while you make the batter.
- Beat the egg whites until quite stiff. Beat in the cornstarch.
- Put about 2 inches of oil into a heavy bottomed pan and heat until 375F/190C (use a thermometer)
- Coat the shrimp in the egg white batter and fry until the batter is golden brown, about 2 - 3 minutes. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
- Drain the cooked shrimp on paper towel.
- When finished, stir the shrimp into the sauce to coat.
- Transfer to a platter, garnish with the candied walnuts and cilantro.
This type of meal would be a special occasion meal for us. Despite the broccoli, this is not a low calorie plate, but it’s certainly one you’ll enjoy!