Stir-Fry Shrimp, Mushrooms and Asparagus with Ginger-Soy Sauce

Tonight’s dinner was not at-all what I expected to make. I’ve been in the mood for pasta, and had planned to make a nice vodka-tomato sauce that I’d serve over pasta with mushrooms, shrimp, and feta (I’ll still do that one day). As they day wore on (and heated up) a heavy tomato sauce didn’t sound as good, so I was left to wonder what I would do with the wild-caught shrimp I’d bought this morning. I wound up chatting with a friend online and she mentioned that she’d made stir-fry for dinner with lots of vegetables, and that got me thinking about what else I had on-hand.

I decided that I could stick with shrimp and mushrooms, then use the asparagus that I had in my fridge to add a crunchy vegetable. I don’t make stir-fries very often, so I’m not used to putting together a sauce for it. I did a search of my blog and found a really light citrus sauce, and then a heavier soy and rice vinegar sauce. I knew I needed something a little stronger than the citrus sauce to stand up to the mushrooms and asparagus, but didn’t want something as heavily soy-based as the second sauce that I’d previously written about. I wound up drawing some elements from both, then adjusting the recipe to taste as I went along. I wound up with a spicy-salty-sweet sauce that matched the other ingredients pretty well. This could easily be served over rice, but since I was in the mood for pasta I served it over brown-rice spaghetti.

For the stir-fry sauce whisk together a small bowl:

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup (unseasoned) rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1-2 tsp. chili sauce (I used 2 tsp. and my stir-fry was pretty spicy)

Use a little of this sauce to stir into about 1/4 cup of cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside to thicken the sauce. (Use just enough sauce so that you can stir up the cornstarch into a liquid without any lumps.)

In a large non-stick skillet or wok, heat over medium-high heat until shimmering:

  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil (I used garlic-chili infused olive oil, but plain olive oil would be fine also)

Add to the pan:

  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger

Cook stirring constantly to be sure the garlic and ginger don’t burn for 2-3 minutes.  Add to the pan:

  • About one-fourth of the sauce.

The amount of liquid that you add during cooking doesn’t have to be exact. The idea is that you want to keep liquid in the pan. I added it gradually and allowed it to cook down and thicken a bit before adding more so that I could minimize the amount of corn-starch I added at the end to thicken the sauce. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes then add:

  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size and your preference.

Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, and add more sauce as it cooks off. Then add to the pan:

  • 1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces.

Cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, again adding more sauce as needed. Add the remaining sauce, then stir in several tablespoons of the cornstarch mixture and then simmer for a minute or two to thicken. If the sauce is not thick enough (according to your taste) stir in a bit more of the cornstarch mixture. Make sure to simmer for a bit between additions to allow the sauce to thicken. Once the sauce is as thick as you want it, add to the pan:

  • 8 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp (preferably large and wild-caught)

Cook until the shrimp is just cooked through (the time will vary depending on the size of the shrimp). Serve over rice or pasta, cooked according to package directions.

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