Fish & Seafood · Main Dish

Sichuan Style Shrimp with Spinach

Szechuan Shrimp With Spinach

Szechuan? Sichuan? It’s all about which system is used to write Chinese using the Roman alphabet. Szechuan is the Wade-Giles spelling, from the system developed by British diplomats in China in the 19th century. It’s being replaced in many places by Sichuan, which is from the Pinyin system developed in and used by China in the 20th century. Another example of this is the Chinese capital city of Beijing (in Pinyin). It used to be known in the West as Peking (Wade-Giles). I’ve read that “Szechuan” cuisine is so well-established that it’s still acceptable to spell it that way, but I usually like to adopt the spelling preferred by the people who actually live there. 

No matter how you decide to spell it, Sichuan cuisine is anything but bland. This recipe has a good kick to it. If you aren’t a fan of spicy food, you could decrease the amount of the Szechuan peppercorns, chili garlic paste, and/or ginger. But then you’d also be missing out on a lot of the flavor. And wow, is there a lot of flavor! This dish is quick, easy, dependable, and so delicious that you forget it’s actually good for you.

The one exception to that healthy claim is sodium. There are varying recommendations out there, but most experts agree that healthy adults should consume no more than 2,000 to 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. One serving of this deliciousness launches you well above that. It’s hard to find any combination of shrimp and soy sauce that doesn’t. So steer clear if you’re watching your sodium intake unless you don’t mind having just a tiny serving. Otherwise, drink plenty of water, and enjoy!

You’ll find a printer-friendly version of the recipe, adapted from one published in Cooking Light in 2006, at the bottom of this page.

Ingredients:

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½ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

2 tsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce

2 Tbsp dry sherry (may substitute dry vermouth)

1½ Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp minced garlic

1½ Tbsp minced fresh ginger

1 tsp sugar

¼ tsp Szechuan peppercorns

3 T olive oil

1 lb. peeled & deveined shrimp, thawed

6 oz fresh baby spinach

Preparation:

1.) In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and broth. Set aside. Keep the whisk handy for right before you use this mixture.

SSWS1 broth

2.) Crush or grind the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have that, you can use a heavy duty plastic bag with a rolling pin, meat mallet, or can.

3.) Place ground peppercorns, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl. Mix well.

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4.) Add the shrimp, and stir gently to coat. Let stand for 5 – 10 minutes.

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5.) Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, remove shrimp from the marinade with a slotted spoon and sauté about 2 – 3 minutes per side, or until done. As each batch finishes, transfer it to a bowl to keep warm. Do not discard the marinade.

6.) When all the shrimp are done and removed from the pan, add the reserved marinade to the pan. Cook about a minute at a low boil, stirring to scrape up all the brownings from the bottom of the pan. Whisk the broth mixture once more, then add it to the pan and mix well. Bring back to a boil, cook one minute, then turn the heat down to low.

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7.) Add the spinach to the pan, and stir it in. Cook for about a minute, stirring occasionally, just until spinach begins to wilt.

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8.) Return the shrimp to the pan, stir gently to combine. Serve over rice.

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Sichuan Style Shrimp with Spinach


Ingredients


½ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 Tbsp dry sherry (may substitute dry vermouth)
1½ Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1½ Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp Szechuan peppercorns
3 T olive oil
1 lb. peeled & deveined shrimp, thawed
6 oz fresh baby spinach

Directions


1.) In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and broth. Set aside. Keep the whisk handy for right before you use this mixture.
2.) Crush or grind the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have that, you can use a heavy duty plastic bag with a rolling pin, meat mallet, or can.
3.) Place ground peppercorns, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl. Mix well.
4.) Add the shrimp, and stir gently to coat. Let stand for 5 – 10 minutes.
5.) Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, remove shrimp from the marinade with a slotted spoon and sauté about 2 – 3 minutes per side, or until done. As each batch finishes, remove it to a bowl to keep warm. Do not discard the marinade.
6.) When all the shrimp are done and removed from the pan, add the reserved marinade to the pan. Cook about a minute at a low boil, stirring to scrape up all the brownings from the bottom of the pan. Whisk the broth mixture once more, then add it to the pan and mix well. Bring back to a boil, cook one minute, then turn the heat down to low.
7.) Add the spinach to the pan, and stir it in. Cook for about a minute, stirring occasionally, just until spinach begins to wilt.
8.) Return the shrimp to the pan, stir gently to combine. Serve over rice.

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