Firecracker Shrimp Bowls

Close the door! That's what February is to me. Sure, there's Valentine's Day and that's lovely and all, but it's just one day. The month, short as it is, tends to whip up some intense wind and freezing temperatures and I generally just shiver through the weeks. March with its promise of warmer weather can't seem to arrive soon enough. But, in the meantime, at least I can warm myself and my family from the inside out!

Spicy shrimp star in this fun bowl meal. Bowl recipes allow us to combine the culinary with the artistic and build up a dish that is as much about color and texture as it is about flavor and temperatures. Put it all together and we tend to find ourselves feeling festive despite Old Man Winter threatening to chill us through and through at every turn.

The list of ingredients here is pretty fluid. I love the decadence that comes with using big shrimp in a spicy sauce, but feel free to opt for something smaller (or chicken, pork, beef, or tofu if that's more your speed) and pick a sauce you like (don't worry — bottled sauces are fine too). I like using cucumber, green onions, radishes, and carrots because they are all easy to come by and in generally good shape in most areas this time of the year. If you happen to have access to something like snow peas or asparagus instead, use them! Even the rice or noodles are optional. You can just have this mix nestled into lettuce wraps or on its own if that's what moves you. Make it yours.

The beauty of bowl meals is that you don't need anything else to make it a meal. I am personally a fan of grabbing mine and nestling onto the couch in front of a fire and ignoring the blowing snow outside my window. Perhaps that's what you'd like to do as well!

Firecracker Shrimp Bowls

  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced red pepper — choose a sweet pepper for a milder sauce and a spicy pepper for more heat
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 8 oz. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
  • Hot cooked rice or noodles, for serving
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 beauty heart radish, shredded

Whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a bowl. Add the peeled shrimp and stir to coat. Allow to rest while you prepare the cucumber and shallots.

Combine the cucumber, green onion, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine; set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a medium nonstick skillet. Add the sliced shallots and sauté them until browned and crisp. Remove to a small plate and reserve for later.

Add the shrimp to the hot pan and sauté the shrimp until they are cooked through. Keep warm.

To assemble the bowls, place ½ cup of rice or noodles into the bottom of each bowl. Arrange shredded carrot and radish, cucumber salad, and hot cooked shrimp in the bowl and garnish each dish with the sautéed shallots. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes