Cooking with Alison

Stir Fried Snow Peas with Seafood (Chinese Restaurant Style)

In Seafood on November 4, 2011 at am

I made this for my family recently and they thought that it tasted even better than the restaurant’s dish.  My mom kept raving about how good it was and how even she can’t replicate that Chinese restaurant “flavour” (known as “wok hay”).  My brother even suspected that I had used MSG!  🙂  Just to be clear, I never use monosodium glutamate (MSG), because it is a neurotoxin and, clearly, you don’t need it to make great tasting food.

Stir fried snow peas with seafood (photo below) is a dish commonly found on the menus of Chinese restaurants.  At Magic Wok, one of our favourite Chinese restaurants in Markham, they serve this dish in a basket made of deep fried, shredded taro.  I am on the look out for the properly shaped Chinese wire strainers, so that I may one day make those baskets too.

Alternatively, you could make a simpler and quicker snow pea and shrimp stir fry (see the first photo in this post) by replacing the scallops and squid with 1 can of Chinese straw mushrooms that have been drained and rinsed.  If you do this, add the garlic to the wok at the same time that you add the ginger and shrimp.  Then add the Chinese straw mushrooms at the same time that you add the snow peas.  I love Chinese straw mushrooms and they make a great addition to any stir fry.

Stir Fried Snow Peas with Seafood Recipe (2 Variations)

makes 6 to 8 servings (this recipe halves well);  Note:  Alternatively, you could make a simpler and quicker snow pea and shrimp stir fry by replacing the scallops and squid with 1 can of Chinese straw mushrooms that have been drained and rinsed.  If you do this, add the garlic to the wok at the same time that you add the ginger and shrimp.  Then add the Chinese straw mushrooms at the same time that you add the snow peas.

approx. 340 g snow peas, washed and dried with the tough ends removed

at least 8 fresh scallops (I used whole jumbo/colossal scallops, but restaurants tend to use small or medium sized scallops or large scallops that have been sliced in half horizontally)

12 large raw shrimp, deveined and peeled

1 whole squid (not including the tentacles), cleaned out with the bony parts and insides removed

8 thin slices (crosswise) of a large carrot

2 large, thin slices of ginger, cut into thin strips

2 or 3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp shaoxing wine

1 tsp toasted sesame oil (brand Kadoya)

1 tsp corn starch

ground white pepper

coarse salt

vegetable oil

In a small bowl, mix together the water, shaoxing wine, sesame oil, corn starch, a pinch of coarse salt, and a few dashes of ground white pepper and set aside.  Rinse and pat dry the squid body.  Then cut it open by making a vertical cut through one side of it.  Open up the body, lay it flat, and make shallow diagonal cuts across the inside of the body in a criss cross or diamond pattern.  Then cut the body into a few, even sized, rectangular shaped pieces, approximately 2″ x 1″.  Rinse and pat dry the scallops.  Add a light sprinkling of salt to both sides of the scallops and set aside.

Heat a large wok over high heat.  When the wok is very hot (but not so hot that it is burning dry), coat the bottom of it with vegetable oil.  When the oil is hot (if your wok is hot enough, the oil should instantly be hot enough), carefully (avoiding oil splatters) place the scallops into the wok without crowding them.  Depending on the size and thickness of your scallops, they will need up to 3 minutes per side to cook through.  Stir and turn them over occasionally without breaking them to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the wok.  If you want more colour, allow them to carmelize without disturbing them; if you want less colour like in the restaurants, stir fry them constantly.  Don’t over cook them.  Keep in mind that you want them to be translucent (ie. slightly raw) in the middle.  Once you have achieved this, dish them out and set aside.  If there are bits of scallop stuck to your wok, you will need to carefully wash it and wipe it dry.  If you don’t clean it, these bits will burn.  (If you don’t need to clean your wok, you may need to pour off some of the oil, because you only want a light coating of oil from this point on.)

Reheat the wok over high heat before lightly coating the bottom of the wok with oil.   Swirl the wok so that the oil coats the bottom half of the wok.  Then when the oil is hot, add the squid.  Stir fry the squid until it curls up and turns white.  Before it cooks all the way through, add the ginger and shrimp.  Stir fry until both sides of the shrimp just start to turn pink (this will take seconds).  Before the shrimp cooks all the way through, add the garlic and carrots followed by the snow peas.  Give everything a few stirs and then add the sauce.  Stir occasionally until the liquid has evaporated and the snow peas are tender but still crisp.  Adjust salt to taste and gently stir in the scallops.  Dish out and serve immediately with white rice.

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