Danielle stumbled into her kitchen after a day of work, searching for something edible. She stared into the cold light of the near-empty fridge with glassy Muppet sized eyes and sneezed for the umpteenth time. Being sick sucks, she thought, and chicken soup is overrated. Her taste buds had the strength of a Sprint cellphone signal so she decided on something intense, spicy and garlicky.
While the fridge offered little more than a few cloves of garlic, ginger root, tofu, and a handful of mushrooms, the freezer held a pleasant surprise—a bag of frozen shrimp. Finally, a bottle of Sriracha sauce offered spicy salvation.
Oddly enough, this thrown-together meal was one of the best I have cooked in a long time. The ginger and garlic opened up my palate, allowing me to really taste the shrimp and mushrooms, which lightly caramelized and added more flavor to the pan. Even the tofu tasted good! Because I am a heat fiend, I Jackson Pollock’d the Sriracha sauce over all the ingredients before giving it all one last stir. Next time I’ll toast some sesame seeds to top it. But for now, here’s my simple recipe to blaze through an early spring cold.
Spicy Garlic Ginger Shrimp
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes 2 servings
- 1 block of firm tofu
- 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
- soy sauce
- 1 1/2 dozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Sriracha to taste
Prepare the tofu as you would for baked tofu, pressing it between 2 baking sheets for 20 minutes to squeeze out excess water. Cut into cubes.
Clean and remove the shiitake stems, then slice the mushroom caps into strips.
Heat the peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the chopped garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute to release their aromas.
Add the tofu and mushrooms to the pan, stirring to coat with the hot oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes until they are browned.
Stir in the shrimp and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through.
Add the Sriracha, adjusting the amount according to how much spice you can handle.