Honey walnut shrimp is probably one of the most popular dishes in all of Chinese takeout history, and for good reason. Fried shrimp in a mayo and condensed milk creamy mixture is a staple in most of our memories. They serve it at Panda Express, so you know it is popular. Before I started cooking this is one of the dishes I wanted to learn to cook, but was always a little intimidated by, as it kind of looks complex. Thankfully it really isn’t that hard, and if you follow a couple tips, it is pretty easy! If you want to have honey walnut shrimp, have kids that love your cooking, and just plain know how to make good food, then try this recipe out.
Tips for Cooking Honey Walnut Shrimp
- Skip the Walnuts – I know it is called Honey Walnut Shrimp, and the picture shoes walnuts, but when actually cooking this dish for kids, I would skip the walnuts. If I have learned anything about cooking, it is that multiple big steps (i.e. frying two different things) demotivates you from cooking recipes. In addition, kids don’t even really eat the walnuts, they are too busy eating the shrimp. You really are only depriving yourself, which when cooking on a week night is probably the least bit of your concerns.
- Not too much Honey – I know the dish is called Honey walnut shrimp, but the amount of honey is fickle in this dish. Honey can be very overpowering in the creamy sauce, and when adapting this recipe I opt for half the portion.
- Open your Windows – You are frying, always open your windows, unless you want your house to smell like fried food.
- Don’t add too many shrimp when frying – They will stick to each other, so do in small batches.
- Cook Two portions if you can – The recipe says 1 lb is good for 4 people. I don’t believe that for a second, we go through 1 lb of shrimp in 5 minutes flat. The correct portion (if this is your main dish), is probably something like 1 1/2 lbs or 2 lbs.
This amazing recipe comes to you from The Woks of Life. I adapted it to make it kid-friendly, and a ton easier to cook on a week night for busy parents. My goal is to be able to consistently cook on week nights, and for that to happen, it has to be a balance of tasty, quick, and repeatable to cook.
Honey Walnut Shrimp for Kids
- Pot or a Dutch Oven
- Mixing Bowl
- 6 tbsp Condensed Milk
- 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 cup Cornstarch
- 2 tsp Honey
- 4 cups Vegetable oil (you want the shrimp to be fully submerged in the oil)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 lbs Shrimp
- Mix together the condensed milk, mayonnaise, rice vinegar, honey, and salt. Then you want to let it sit out.
- Peel, devein, and cut the small bit of the tails off the shrimp. If you have to defrost your shrimp do this first. I almost always forget to defrost ahead of time, so I just follow the directions on the bag to run under cold water for 5-8 minutes to defrost.
- Cut a thin slice across the back of the shrimp to open up the back and allow for cornstarch to get into this area. This gives the shrimp that restaurant look when they are fried, and butterfly out.
- Coat the shrimp in cornstarch. Then wait about 5 minutes as the cornstarch soaks up the moisture in the shrimp. Then recoat the shrimp in cornstarch again.
- Add your 4 cups of vegetable oil to your dutch oven or pot. I put this over medium heat to get it up to temperature which is 350 degrees. The way I test to see if the oil is ready is to put a wooden chopstick or spoon in the oil. If you see little bubbles around the spoon, you are good to go. You don't want to see crazy bubbling, but just little bubbles around the spoon. Careful though, make sure your chopstick or spoon is not too close to the oil or you can burn your hand. If you are at all unsure about frying, feel free to use a thermometer.
- Then in one-by-one add your shrimp to your boiling oil. I do a max of 5 shrimp in the pot at any one time. This makes sure that the oil doesn't drop too much in temperature, and your shrimp don't stick together.
- Cook the shrimp for about 3 minutes, then drain, and put in a new mixing pot. Repeat this probably about 5 times.
- Go back to your creamy sauce, and mix again. The sauce will have thickened up and, will need to be mixed so give it a couple swirls with a spoon.
- Pour your the creamy mixture to your shrimp pot, a mix the shrimp around to make sure they get coated nicely.
- Plate up the shrimp and you have just made Honey Shrimp!