Lemongrass Basil Shrimp
by Katie Chin, Tastemaker in Residence
This dish is loaded with complex flavors from the fish sauce, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf and Thai Basil so it’s filled with delicious flavors but won’t weigh you down. You can substitute lemongrass with a bit of lemon rind. I highly suggest finding and using fresh lemongrass if you can because it lends a wonderful lemony and woodsy note to the dish without the acidity or sharpness of a lemon. Frozen lemongrass or lemongrass sold in a tube (you can find it in the produce section of grocery stores) are great options as well. As for the kaffir lime leaves, they are optional because I know they’re not easy to find (many Asian stores do carry them) but if you buy a pack just know that you can freeze the rest and use as needed. I buy my premium soy sauce for this dish in the gourmet section of World Market. Substitute the soy sauce with tamari for a gluten-free version of this dish.
10 oz. medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp all-purpose cornstarch
Pinch of white pepper
2 Tbsp high heat cooking oil
4 Tbsp minced lemongrass
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 fresh hot red or green chili, preferably Thai (deseeded if you prefer less heat), finely sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced (optional)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup fresh Thai or Italian basil
- Toss the shrimp with the sesame oil, all-purpose cornstarch, and pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Heat 1/2 of the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lemongrass, garlic, shallots and chilies until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until the shrimp turn pink.
- Add the kaffir lime leaves (if using), soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through. Add the basil leaves and stir-fry for about 30 seconds or until basil is wilted. Dish out and serve immediately with hot jasmine or brown rice.