Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Treat for Mr. Procrastination: Garlic Noodles with Crispy Shrimp

My husband is home today doing taxes. Some months ago Mr. Procrastination filed his last extension so he can no longer put it off. Today is the day. Over the course of the last few hours he has transformed from a calm, rational, light hearted, loving husband and father to a raving lunatic, and it is not just me that thinks so. There’s a woman at the bursar’s office at Colorado State University that would probably be happy to back me up on this.

He has called upon God several times today in a very loud voice to no avail. It is a good thing he doesn’t seem to be listening, for if he had been the US government in its entirety (with a special shout out to President Obama), Microsoft, JavaScript (for some unknown reason), Comcast Cable and the whole of Dell computers would be burning in hell (or worse) as we speak.

My frightened little dog is stuck to me like glue. He doesn’t understand what is wrong with Dad, but he’s making sure that he’s not swept up in the tornado. So Scruffy and I are going to escape this madness by going to Whole Foods. This is a place where I have taken refuge from screaming kids, sullen teenagers and sulking husbands for years now. I know we are safe there.

Scruffy can take a nice little nap in the car on this beautiful cool day and I am going to linger in the seafood section for a bit. Our Whole Foods always has great shrimp, so I think I’ll make Mr. Procrastination a dish that he loves, Garlic Noodles with Crispy Shrimp. That will surely put him in a good mood . . . I think. Then it will all be ok until next April when the whole thing starts all over again.

Garlic Noodles with Crispy Shrimp

My neighbor turned me on to these noodles a few years ago when we called in a to go order to P.F. Chang's. It was love at first bite.  After trying a few recipes on the internet and tweaking them a bit I was able to come up with a version that we really like.  I love this shrimp version best, but even the basic vegetarian recipe is a real treat.

Crispy Shrimp

1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into bite size pieces if needed

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 – 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Cantonese Sauce

3/4 cup water

1 teaspoon chicken base or bouillon (if using dried bouillon heat water to hot before mixing)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons white wine or Mirin

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Garlic noodles


3/4 pound thin spaghetti

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, divided

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 teaspoons crushed garlic cloves

3 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 English cucumber, sliced in 1/8” thick slices across then into julienne strips


Mix together the shrimp, soy sauce and cornstarch in a medium size bowl ; cover and refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

Mix water, chicken base, sugar, wine, oyster sauce, salt and cornstarch in a medium size bowl; set aside.

Boil spaghetti according to package instructions; drain and rinse then toss with 1 tablespoon of the cilantro; set aside.

While the spaghetti is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add the crushed garlic cloves and sauté for one minute. To the garlic and oil, add the sugar, white vinegar and pepper flakes; stir well and cook for an additional 15 seconds or so. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil; set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a medium size frying pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot add the shrimp and fry on each side until brown and crispy, approximately 1 minute on each side or until slightly opaque. Transfer to paper towels to drain; keep warm.

Reheat the garlic and sugar mixture in the large stock pot over medium heat. Add the drained noodles and toss to coat. Pour the Cantonese Sauce over the noodles and toss once again. Divide the noodles among 4 large bowls. Top with equal amounts of the cucumber, remaining cilantro and shrimp. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 – 6.

*For  a vegetarian version, omit the shrimp altogether or substitute it with a scrambled egg.



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