Sizzled Five-Spice Shrimp With Red Pepper (Serves 4-6)
680g large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder (available at Asian supermarkets)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine, sake or dry sherry
2 tablespoons cornstarch (Maizena)
900g baby bok choy or mustard greens, trimmed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ripe, red Fresno chilies, split lengthwise, seeded and cut into thin strips (or use 2 large bell peppers)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup slivered scallions, for garnish
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
Spread shrimp out in one layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly on both sides with salt, sugar, then five-spice powder.
Transfer shrimp to a large bowl and drizzle with soy sauce and rice wine.
Sprinkle with cornstarch and gently toss shrimp with hands or spoons until well coated. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes (or cover and keep refrigerated up to 2 hours).
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add bok choy or mustard greens and simmer until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and arrange on a large serving platter. Keep warm.
Set a wok or large cast-iron pan over high heat and add vegetable oil. When oil is hot, add the shrimp in a single layer. (Work in batches if necessary to avoid crowding.) Let shrimp brown nicely on one side, about 1 minute, then turn with tongs and finish cooking the second side. Transfer cooked shrimp to the platter of blanched bok choy, placing on top of greens.
Add chili strips to oil in wok, sprinkle lightly with salt and cook about 1 minute, until softened, then add ginger, garlic, cayenne and sesame oil. Let mixture sizzle briefly, just until fragrant, then carefully spoon it over shrimp.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds; garnish with slivered scallions, cilantro and lime wedges and serve.
The New York Times