Lighter Honey Walnut Shrimp
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A lighter take on the traditional honey walnut shrimp! We’re pan frying the shrimp until crispy and then tossing it with candied walnuts and a quick sauce!
Today’s post is sponsored by California Walnuts! We’re candying their delicious walnuts to make a takeout classic – honey walnut shrimp.
Gah! Holy deliciousness!
Get out your magnifying glass and come take a closer look at those crispy, honey-kissed shrimp. With a hint of garlic and all tossed in a quick, sweet yet tangy sauce and candied walnuts.
I repeat CANDIED WALNUTS.
Friends, can you taste it?
I am totally on a seafood kick after coming back from the west coast. Pretty sure i’ve eaten my weight in seafood (and then some) and here I am, still making more. Throughout our trip I did this one thing that I always do and that’s figuring out what i’m going to order before i’m even at the restaurant. Anyone else from that mindset? Yelp is your BFF. Take your sweet time to consider the options. Weigh out all those pros and cons. Before I even pick out what i’m going to have, I need to have the person i’m dining with (read: husband) pick out their dinner too. I’m that dorky wife that reads the dinner menu on the way to the restaurant rather than just being chill and sitting back.
Also, ordering something completely different than the hubby is of the utmost priority because who even goes to a restaurant, orders two plates of the same meal and proceeds to eat it together? I mean no offense if this is you, this is just not me and by extension, not the hubby either. There may have been an instance when I ordering something super vegetarian that sounded a lot better than it tasted on a complete whim, no research and had I bothered to take half a second and looked it up, I would’ve known that every reviewer was screaming not to get said dish. Major whoopsie.
But enough about my food rants.
Now listen here – I need you to promise not to pay those slightly ridiculous double digit numbers for a baby sized portion of walnut shrimp when we can easily make it at home and make it lighter than it’s take out counterpart.
Perfect crispy shrimp + candied walnuts + tangy sauce all tossed together in a bowl and served on a bed of warm rice and I can call it dinner? Count me in. This is without a doubt, my love language. And I know, the takeout version doesn’t really have anything more than walnuts and shrimp but in my defense, I did say this would be a lighter take on honey walnut shrimp which means no frying/adding greens. You can easily leave out the cabbage or greens here though, I would not judge.
Let me give you the low down on these here honey walnut shrimp. It starts with a pound and half of large or jumbo shrimp. If you think that sounds like a lot, wait till you go in for a taste of those hot, fresh and garlicky little fellas and on your tenth shrimp, look down to find only half of your dinner remaining. I kid you not, this will happen to you just as it happened to me.
Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
This is a 3 part recipe. Walnuts. Shrimp. Sauce.
First let’s talk about the walnuts: We’re going to candy them and if that sounds like it’s going to be a lot of work, don’t worry it’s not! It starts with a little sugar and water in a saucepan to make a simple sugar syrup, we’ll add a pinch of salt and the walnuts and stir to coat them all. Then, just turn the coated walnuts out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread them as much as you can. That’s it!
For the shrimp, we’ll lightly dust them in a mixture of cornstarch, salt, and garlic powder. I won’t even ask you to waste a plate because this can all be done in a zip top bag. Then just pan fry them until they are crispy. Do this in batches, because overcrowding a pan is no bueno and will result in mushy no good shrimp. WHAMP! Definitely not what we want here.
As for the sauce? Stir together a little mayo, honey, condensed milk, and lemon juice and that’s it! Toss the shrimp and walnuts into the sauce and you’ve got honey walnut shrimp for dinner and you didn’t even need to call for takeout.
And if you need a little bit more in the greens department, I got you covered. I like to really layer the flavors here with rice followed by some greens. You know those cabbage salad mixes from Costco that you always pass in the refrigerated section? The ones with the build-your-own asian salad starter packs all-in-one? THOSE. I just added a handful to a pile of rice and topped it with the walnut shrimp and for good measure a pinch of red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lime juice.
NEXT LEVEL STUFF.
So have it the traditional way – with just the honey walnut shrimp on a bed of rice or the more colorful eye appealing and greener way, it is totally your choice, my friend. I’m pretty sure if you’ve got little one’s they’ll be counting their blessing because what 5-year-old likes veggies?
And just like that Magic. You’ve got a lighter takeout fakeout dinner option of the weekend.
I’m inclined to say that this WILL be a crowd pleaser!
- ½ cup whole California Walnuts
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 ½ pounds large or jumbo shrimp
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt (plus more)
- 3 tablespoons oil
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
To serve (optional):
- cooked rice, chopped cabbage mix, red pepper flakes, toasted sesame seeds, chopped scallions, and lime wedges
- Walnuts: Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water over medium high heat. Allow the sugar to dissolve, stir just once. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and add the walnuts, stir to coat then immediately turn the walnuts out onto the prepared baking sheet and working quickly, spread them out before they set. Allow to cool completely. Break up any walnuts that may be stuck together once cooled.
- Shrimp: In a large zip top bag, combine the cornstarch, garlic powder, and salt. Zip the bag and shake. Add the shrimp into the bag, zip and continue to shake until all the shrimp are evenly coated with the mixture. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 ½ tablespoons of oil to the pan and cook ½ the shrimp for 2-3 minutes, flipping as needed or until they curl up into a 'c' shape. Remove shrimp to a plate. Repeat with the second batch.
- Sauce: Add the sauce ingredients to a large bowl and stir. Toss with the shrimp and walnut just before serving.
- Assemble: On a bed of rice, add cabbage mix if desired followed by the prepared honey walnut shrimp. Top with red pepper flakes if you like a little heat. Serve with lime wedges if you want to cut the sweetness a bit. I've also left out the rice completely and served it on a bed of cabbage like a salad and it was a hit that way too!
Thank you to our friends over at California Walnuts for sponsoring this post! We truly love partnering with companies that promote wholesome, quality ingredients!
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