I first had Honey Walnut Shrimp when I was 12 years old. I tagged along with my dad to work one evening. He worked at a dim sum restaurant that also hosted wedding banquets. I was so glad I went to work with him that day. I had 10 courses of some of the best food I have ever had. After that first trip of being my dad’s co-pilot, I made sure to tag along as many time as I could.
The dishes that stood out to me was a cold cuts platter that had jellyfish, fried lobster, and honey walnut shrimp. The shrimp at first was a little interesting. I was not used to tasting mayonnaise outside of a sandwich. However, the combination with shrimp and walnuts work so well together.
My dad told me that it was a newer dish and that not many restaurants had it at the time (early 1990s). They were proud to feature it on the menu and I was glad they did. It is now a lot more common, almost every Chinese seafood restaurant makes it. You can even order Panda Express honey walnut shrimp. Not being bias at all, this recipe is much better.
Shrimp is packaged based on size. You will see numbers similar to 16/20 or 21/24 or 31/40, etc. The numbers indicate roughly how many are in a pound. For instance, 16/20 is means that there are around 16-20 shrimp per pound. The smaller the numbers, the larger the shrimp. For this recipe, it is better to use shrimp on the larger size. I used 21/24 here. I have used the larger 16/20 and that works out well. I would not go too much bigger in size. It is nice to be eat the whole shrimp in one bite. Don’t go too much smaller because there tends to be too much batter to shrimp ratio.
- 1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
- high smoke point oil for deep frying, peanut, canola, grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup mayonaise
- 2 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 pinch of salt
- Mix the honey, water and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Toss in the walnut and mix well. Be sure all the walnuts are well coated.
- Lay the coated walnuts on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 350° F oven (a toaster oven works too) for about 10 minutes. The walnuts should be slightly golden and the honey should have created a crunchy coating.
MIX THE SAUCE
- In large mixing bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and mix it well. Set it aside, we will be adding the shrimp to this.
COOKING THE SHRIMP
- Mix all the BATTER ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk all it well until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Add the shrimp to the batter and mix it all together. Be sure every piece of shrimp is well coated.
- Heat a pot of high smoke point oil to 350° F.
- Remove the shrimp one by one from the batter. Allow excess batter to drip off, then carefully place it in the hot oil. Do this in batches, depending on the size of your pot. You don't want to over crowd the pot.
- Lightly stir the shrimp just to be sure they don't stick to each other. Fry each shrimp for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp has curled and cooked through.
- When the shrimp is done, place them on a wire rack to allow excess oil to drip out. Continue cooking the rest of the shrimp.
BRING IT TOGETHER
- Add your cooked shrimp to the mixing bowl with the SAUCE and toss it to coat the shrimp.
- Serve on a bed of candied walnuts. It is best to serve and eat immediately.