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This shrimp stir-fry's secret ingredient is ubiquitous

By: Bonnie S. Benwick The Washington Post
October 25, 2017 Updated: October 25, 2017 at 10:49 am
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Stir-Fried Shrimp and Scallions. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post.

A sweet memory accompanies this recipe in "Myers + Chang at Home: Recipes From the Beloved Boston Eatery," by Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz. Boston chef Chang recalls that while most of her friends' mothers "were whipping up hamburgers and hot dogs for fast easy dinners," her working mom would make this shrimp stir-fry - a go-to dish in their household.

Her mother was hesitant to reveal its main sauce ingredient, which turns out to be ... ketchup. Chang recommends using one whose taste you love. The result is a bit sweet, with garlic and ginger helping to stem that tide. A classic quick coating of egg whites and cornstarch keeps the shrimp moist before the sauce fixings go in, and scallions and cilantro give it a light crunch.

Needless to say, this is time-tested, kid-friendly fare. But I'm betting grown-ups will find it just as irresistible.

Stir-Fried Shrimp and Scallions

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Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds large, peeled and deveined shrimp One 2-inch knob fresh ginger root 3 cloves garlic 5 scallions 2 large egg whites 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1/2 cup ketchup 1/2 cup no-salt-added chicken broth 1 tablespoon sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup canola oil 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro Cooked white or brown rice, for serving

Procedure:

If the shrimp still have tail shells, peel and discard them, and place the shrimp in a mixing bowl.

Peel the ginger and mince it. Cut the garlic into thin slices. Trim the scallions, then finely chop the white and light-green parts (to yield about 1/2 cup). Crack the egg whites into a small bowl, reserving the yolks for another use, if desired.

Add the ginger, garlic, egg whites, crushed red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch to the shrimp; use your clean hands to toss so they are well coated.

Whisk together the ketchup, broth, sugar, salt, pepper and the remaining teaspoon of cornstarch in a liquid measuring cup until well incorporated.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Once the oil starts to sputter, add the shrimp and stir-fry for about 1 minute, until the shrimp start to turn pink and get a bit crisped on some edges.

Stir in the ketchup mixture; cook for about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are just cooked through. Stir in the scallions and remove from the heat.

Coarsely chop the cilantro and toss it in. Serve right away, over rice.

Nutrition information per serving: 460 calories, 37 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 275 mg cholesterol, 930 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 10 g sugar.

Source: Adapted from "Myers + Chang at Home: Recipes From the Beloved Boston Eatery," by Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz.

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