Sweet and sour shrimp is a Chinese restaurant favorite of which there are several different versions. Below is a simple outline of a quick and easy version that has fresh shrimp, which are stir fried and tossed with red and green bell peppers in a simple sweet and sour sauce. I also have another version that combines deep fried shrimp in a pineapple sweet and sour sauce. The other recipe can be found here if you are interested, but it take a bit longer than this version. If you are just learning how to cook I would suggest starting with the recipe below first and then trying the other one.
1 lb. medium shrimp
1 Green bell pepper
1 Red bell pepper
1 tbsp peanut oil
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of white vinegar
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp of ketchup
2 tsp cornstarch
Step 1: Clean and Prepare the Shrimp
Cleaning shrimp is easy, but very time consuming. If you are looking to cut down on time you can purchase shrimp that are already cleaned and deveined, however they may cost a little more than unclean shrimp.
To clean them, simple remove all of the shell, legs and the tail from each of the shrimp. Then remove the vein that runs down the back by slicing the shrimp long ways right down the center, but not all the way through. Just apply light pressure on the knife so that it cuts into the back to expose the vein. Then simply pull the vein out and discard it. Now there is a vein on the underside of the shrimp as well so you want to repeat this process with the underside of each of the shrimp. When all of the shrimp are clean, just set them aside.
Step 2: Prepare the Bell Peppers
First rinse both peppers under cold running water and dry them thoroughly. Then cut each of them down the center and remove and discard the stem, seeds and all of the inner white meat. Then take each of the pepper halves and cut them into 1 inch to 1 and ½ inch squares and set them aside.
Step 3: Prepare the Sauce and the Thickener
Mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce except for the cornstarch. Mix these ingredients in a large cup preferably one that has a spout for easy pouring. Then set this sauce aside.
In a smaller cup mix the cornstarch with just a little cold water until it dissolves. This mixture will thicken the sauce.
4th and Final Step – Start Cooking
Heat a wok on high and let it heat up. Once the wok is hot add the peanut oil and swirl it around the bottom and edges of the wok and let it get hot. When the oil is hot add the peppers and stir fry them for 2 minutes. Then add the shrimp and stir fry everything for just 30 seconds. Then add the sauce and let it come to a boil. Just as it starts to come to a boil, add the cornstarch mixture and stir until the sauce thickens and coats the shrimp, this takes about 30 seconds. Then you can remove it from the heat and serve. This is perfect served with a side of fried rice and makes about 3 servings of sweet and sour shrimp.
To watch a step-by-step video of how to make sweet and sour shrimp click here.