Honey Walnut Shrimp
Looking for a delicious seafood dish to add to your recipe collection? This sweet and savory shrimp recipe might be just what you need. Shrimp are coated in a crispy golden shell, tossed with a silky sauce made from honey, condensed milk, and mayo. To add some texture, candied walnuts are sprinkled on top, adding a satisfying crunch. It’s a gourmet dish often served at weddings and major birthdays, making it one that I associate with celebration and joy. This is a dish that is more simple to make at home than you think, having the ability to make every ordinary day all the more special.
What is Honey Walnut Shrimp?
Honey Walnut Shrimp is a popular dish often found in Chinese restaurants in America. It typically consists of shrimp that are lightly battered in a mixture that may include egg whites, starch, and flour. The dish is named after the silky sauce that coats the shrimp and the candied walnut topping. To add some texture, the walnuts are often sprinkled on top, making this dish a perfect combination of sweet, savory, and crunchy. This dish is also referred to as:
- Walnut shrimp with honey sauce
- Shrimp with honey glazed walnuts
- Sweet walnut shrimp
- Honey walnut prawns
- Walnut prawns with honey mayo
- Honey glazed walnut prawns
Like Beef Broccoli it is a Chinese-American creation. It’s a gourmet dish often served at weddings and milestone birthdays, making it one that I associate with celebration and joy. The dish is usually made using Gulf Shrimp, which usually come in 16-30 pieces per pound. However, to make this even more gourmet, I’ve opted to use shrimp that are almost double in size.
Why This Works
During the development of this recipe, I experimented with various batters to find the perfect balance of texture and flavor. I tried an egg white and all-purpose flour mixture, which created a tempura-like shell in addition to glutinous rice flour which created a chewy exterior. After much trial and error, I settled on a simple batter made with just egg white and cornstarch. This produced a crispy and delicious coating. This is a dish that is simple to make at home, having the ability to make an ordinary day special.
The ingredients of this dish also have many benefits. Shrimp is low in calories and fat but high in protein and nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, and phosphorus. Walnuts are a super food that helps with inflammation, weight, brain health, and male reproductive organs among many other benefits. If you love shrimp, check out my other recipes: Classic Fried Rice, Pad Thai Noodles, Miso Garlic Butter Shrimp.
What ingredients do I need to make honey walnut shrimp?
- For the sauce, you’ll need mayonnaise, condensed milk, and honey
- To make the candied walnuts, you’ll need whole walnuts, sugar, salt, and water to create a simple syrup that gives the walnuts a crunchy texture
- In addition to these ingredients, you’ll need cornstarch and deveined shrimp for the rest of the recipe
When making this dish, the mayonnaise is a key ingredient, so it’s important to choose one that you enjoy the taste of. I personally prefer Hellman’s Mayonnaise, but both low-fat and regular varieties will work. If you store natural mayonnaise in the fridge for an unknown period of time, make sure to give it a sniff. It may look usable but if it smells overwhelmingly of stale oil, it has likely spoiled and you should discard it.
What type of shrimp is the best for frying?
When you visit the grocery store, you will probably come across several types of shrimp on sale. The most commonly available type in my region is Gulf Shrimp, which usually comes in 16-30 pieces per pound, depending on the season. Personally, I prefer using White Shrimp (Pacific White Shrimp), which is slightly larger in size making up 8-12 pieces per pound. Gulf Shrimp has a mild, sweet flavor and a firm texture, making it a popular choice for grilling, sautéing, and stir-frying. Contrary to its name, White Shrimp has a gray and slightly green shell. They have a delicate, sweet flavor and tender texture. It is also a great choice for grilling, sautéing, and stir-frying.
Do I need to devein shrimp?
The dark line that runs along the back of the prawn is referred to as the “vein” but it is actually a digestive tract. Some people believe that leaving this intact enhances the shrimp’s flavor, but this is untrue. Removing the vein does not negatively affect the flavor. It is a hygienic practice that ensures that the shrimp are safe to eat. Luckily, most store-bought ones now comes deveined whether it is fresh or frozen saving you time!
How do I devein shrimp?
As a child, I often helped my grandmother with meal prep. Whenever she cooked prawns, she would take great care to peel and devein each one by hand. Although I wasn’t fond of the process because of the odor it left on my hands, I’m grateful that she taught me this best practice.
To properly devein it, you should ensure that the prawns are fully defrosted if previously frozen. Check the shrimp for a vein which may have automatically been removed along with the head. Gently peel off the shell. When pan-frying, grilling or baking, I prefer to leave the last section of the shell on, which includes the tail, as it can add lots of flavor to the dish. Leaving some shell on while cooking can enhance the taste, as the shell contains a lot of flavor. However, keep in mind that leaving the entire shell on can prevent the flavors of the marinade or sauce from being fully infused into the protein. For this recipe in particular, be sure to remove the shell on the tail.
Next, use a sharp knife to make a shallow incision down the spine of the shrimp all the way down to the tail. This will expose the digestive tract which may be translucent or black. It’s crucial to make the cut shallow to avoid damaging the meat. After making the incision, gently grasp the digestive tract and pull it out. The entire tract should come out in one piece, although it may break off in sections if it’s particularly long.
My favorite little hack is pulling out the shrimp using a dry paper towel. The paper sticks to the tract, ensuring a firm grip. This method is also more hygienic and more efficient than using your fingers. By following these steps, you can ensure that your prawns are clean and ready to be used in your favorite recipes.
Honey Walnut Shrimp
- 1 lb fresh shrimp thawed if frozen, deveined
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt divided
- 1 large egg white
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup yellow lump sugar or white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 pint neutral oil
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp condensed milk
- Prep | Set a pot over the stove on medium heat and add in oil. Gradually heat to 400°F / 204°C.
- Walnuts | Heat a pan over medium heat. Once hot add water, sugar, and half of the salt. Stir occasionally until dissolved. Remove from heat. Once cooled, the syrup will thicken. Add in walnuts and toss to coat. Transfer to tray or plate lined with parchment paper and dry. Alternatively, bake at 275°F / 135°C for 15 mins to set the shell and make the walnuts crunchy.
- Sauce | Mix mayo, honey, and condensed milk in a bowl.
- Shrimp | Peel the shrimp, rinse under cold water, and pat dry. Transfer into a bowl. Add egg whites, cornstarch, and salt. Mix to coat evenly. When the oil reaches 400°F / 204°C add the shrimp one by one, spaced apart. Fry for 2 mins each side. Remove with a sieve and drain on paper towels.
- Assemble | Toss the fried shrimp in the sauce and plate. Sprinkle with candied walnuts.If you've tried this recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments below! Your feedback is greatly appreciated and it helps me improve my recipes for future cooking adventures. And if you enjoyed it, don't forget to give it a thumbs up or share it with your friends! You can help my channel by tagging @vocabularyoffood in your cooks. ۶(◠ 。◠)۶