A Simple Stir Fry for Shrimp and Summer Vegetables
This summer I decided to try growing bok choy (Chinese cabbage) in my vegetable garden, to great results. Indeed, if anything I now have an overabundance of bok choy to eat up quickly, and other fresh summer vegetables are never in short supply here in Southern New Jersey. Checking out one of my favorite roadside farmstands the other day I found some beautiful bring and yellow wax beans that were just too pretty to pass up. But what to prepare for dinner with bok choy and wax beans? “Easy!” I realized. “I’ll come up with a stir fry!”
Chinese stir fry cooking is great because it is so versatile and simple, once you learn the basics. Just about any combination of proteins and vegetables can be prepared in a stir fry along with a suitable sauce to enhance their flavors. The main secret to a good stir fry is cooking ingredients in batches to prevent overcooking and retain crisp textures. I chose to combine the bok choy and wax beans with shrimp in a slightly garlicy, sweet chili sauce. It made for a refreshing summer evening dinner for two when served with buckwheat noodles, my choice as they are best served slightly cooled or even cold.
Try out this simple recipe the next time you’re in the mood for a quick and healthy stir fry!
If you can’t obtain buckwheat noodles, whole wheat spaghetti is an acceptable substitute. This recipe would also work well served with brown rice, but factor in additional cooking time for the rice. The soba needs to be rinsed after cooking in order to remove residual starchiness and floury taste after cooking.
Whether you leave the shells on the shrimp for cooking or not is entirely your choice. I strongly feel leaving the shells on improves the flavor of the shrimp in the stir fry, but if you don’t like the mess of peeling them when eating then remove when deveining.
If wax beans are unavailable this recipe will work just fine with standard string beans, but you’ll lose the lovely yellow-and-green color combination.
Shrimp Stir Fry with Bok Choy and Wax Beans
- Prep time: 10 min
- Cook time: 20 min
- Ready in: 30 min
- Yields: 2
- 8 ounces Japanese buckwheat noodles (soba)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
- 1/2 medium yellow onion – minced
- 1/2 pound cleaned and deveined large shrimp
- 1/2 pound wax beans – ends trimmed and sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large bok choy or 2 baby bok choy – sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
- 1/4 cup Chinese Rice Wine
Bring a pot of unsalted water to a boil. Add the buckwheat noodles and gently stir until submerged. Cook according to package directions – soba may take from 3 – 7 minutes to cook depending on width and size of noodles. When fully cooked, strain noodles and rinse in cold running water. Leave submerged in cool water until ready to serve.
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high heat until oil surface is shimmering. Add minced garlic and onion and stir fry for 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook until they turn opaque and pink, about 3 minutes. Remove shrimp from wok and set aside.
Add additional tablespoon of vegetable oil to the wok, reheat and add wax beans. Stir fry for 4 minutes until still crunchy but just turning tender.
Add bok choy and cook until wilted, 2 minutes. Add rice wine, chili sauce and soy sauce and toss with the vegetables. Return shrimp to the wok and toss, warming through.
Serve stir fry over the cooked soba noodles, with additional sweet chili sauce on the side if desired.