You may vary the vegetables in this popular southern dish, reducing the celery and adding chopped green bell pepper or sliced okra if desired.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 3 to 4
- 1 pound shelled, deveined medium shrimp
- 1½ teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 egg white
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 cup tomatoes, undrained
- 3½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 3½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 slices ginger
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 ribs celery, cut into ½-inch slices
- Additional water, if needed
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the shrimp in half lengthwise. Place the shrimp in a bowl and mix in 1 teaspoon salt, egg white, and cornstarch. Marinate the shrimp for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine ⅓ cup juice from the canned tomatoes with the tomato paste. Discard the remainder of the juice.
Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat until it is nearly smoking. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp. Stir-fry until they turn pink and the ends have begun to curl. Remove the shrimp from the pan and drain in a colander or on paper towels.
Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in the same wok or skillet. When the oil is hot, add the ginger. Let the ginger brown for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from the pan. Add the chopped onion. Stir-fry until it begins to soften (about 2 minutes), sprinkling with the cayenne pepper and dried thyme.
Push to the sides and add the celery in the middle. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, sprinkling with up to ½ teaspoon salt and adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water if the celery begins to dry out.
Add the tomatoes, sprinkling with a bit of black pepper. Stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the tomato juice mixture. Bring to a boil, then add the shrimp back into the pan. Stir in the green onions and the sugar. Stir-fry for another minute to heat through and blend all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt or pepper if desired. Serve hot over rice.