It’s a treat for the eyes as well as the palate, and you everyone can make it their own!
At least once a week, and often two, we have a stir-fry of some sort for supper/dinner. A stir-fry is my go-to fast food because it doesn’t require a recipe or even a lot of thought. It might be a few vegetables I found at the farm stand quickly stir-fried and served over some rice, or the dish might revolve around something I have in abundance, dished simply over pasta.
One of my favorite flavor combinations since forever has been orange and paprika whether in a stir-fry, marinade for salmon, or vinaigrette. Using the zest is key to the deliciously bright flavor of this dish, cooking everything quickly is also important, thus the stir-fry.
My wok is an old friend! I’ve had it for years and I keep it handy.
I purchased my wok when my kids were kids and I’m now a grandmother. The domed cover is now dented and the little wooden handle is wobbly, and this resides in my daughter’s kitchen. It was her all-purpose pot top when she was first setting up her home, and although she has a lovely new set of pots and pans, this old workhorse still sits in a dominant place in her cabinet. I’ve since bought a new domed lid for my house!
One of the things I love about making stir-fry for a crowd is that you can keep some components separate so folks can create their own dish based on what they can or cannot eat so everyone’s happy. You can serve yourself the rice or pasta, the veggies, and the protein as you wish. In a family of food allergies and intolerances, this is handy.
Sometimes, the stars align
However, even in my extended family of nut and dairy allergies, meat and non-meat eaters, gluten intolerance, and a few fruit and vegetable allergies thrown in for good measure, once in a while, the stars align and everyone present can eat everything I’ve planned! Doesn’t happen often enough!
Then, I can put it all together and let it show itself off!
Use the vegetables you like best, just think about how long each takes to cook and add accordingly to the dish. With any stir-fry, everything needs to be prepped and ready before you start cooking because it goes fast!
Serve this over a favorite rice or pasta, I used a 100% buckwheat pasta here, but use what makes you happy, including zoodles, which make me happy because of the funny name and hardly any carbs!
Orange and Paprika Shrimp Stir-Fry
1 lb. wild-caught shrimp, raw, shell-on
Sweet paprika to dust the shrimp
juice and zest of 1 large orange
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. sweet or hot paprika
1/2 cup reduced shrimp stock
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 medium head bok choi, sliced in quarters lengthwise
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 mini peppers, varied colors, sliced
10 ounces mushrooms, sliced in half
1 head of broccoli florets, trimmed
a few cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup thawed frozen peas
8 ounces buckwheat or whole wheat pasta
Clean and peel the shrimp, reserving the shells. I leave the little tails on, but that is a personal preference. Pat the shrimp dry and keep refrigerated while prepping everything else.
Place the shells in a small saucepan and add a cup and a half of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for a half hour. Strain the liquid into a bowl, discard the shells (I compost them), and return the liquid to the pan over medium heat. Continue cooking until the liquid is reduced to a half cup. Set aside to cool.
Place a large pot of water on to boil for cooking the pasta, add a couple of tablespoons of salt.
In a small bowl combine the orange juice and zest, sesame oil, paprika, and cooled shrimp stock. Mix well, and add the cornstarch. Set aside.
Prep your vegetables: You want everything ready to go. Slice the bok choi in quarters lengthwise; slice the onion in half, pole to pole, then slice; slice the little peppers into rings; slice the mushrooms in half; cut the broccoli into small florets that will cook quickly. Reserve the stems for another use; cut the cherry tomatoes in half; and, thaw the peas.
Position everything close to the stove and your wok. You’re ready.
Drop your pasta into the boiling, salted water.
Heat the wok (or large skillet) over high heat and once hot, add a little oil. Pat the shrimp dry again, then sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and a little paprika. Add to the wok and cook for two to three minutes, stirring all the while, or until the shrimp are pink and just curled. Remove them from the wok to a plate, and cover with a large pot top to keep warm.
Add the bok choi and cook for a minute or two on each side, until the greens have softened and charred. Remove to the shrimp plate and cover.
Add a bit more oil to the wok and dump in the onions. Stir for a minute, then add the garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli. Keep everything moving, and once the broccoli is just tender, add the tomatoes and peas.
Mix up the sauce again (the cornstarch has probably settled to the bottom of the bowl) and pour over the vegetables. Mix well! I use two curved bottom wooden spoons for this. In less than a minutes, you will have a thick sauce and your dish is done.
Drain your pasta and place on a platter. Top with the vegetables and arrange the bok choi alongside. Top with the shrimp, and dig in!
Or, of course, you can plate them all separately and let people help themselves.
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