Monday, January 17, 2022

Honey-walnut shrimp

When I went into the city last week, I picked up a luxury item: shrimp. That's because I came across a recipe I wanted to try, namely honey-walnut shrimp made so popular by Panda Express.

I love Panda Express food, but unfortunately there isn't a franchise within a hundred miles of our new home, so it's been a long long time since I had any honey-walnut shrimp. That's why this copycat recipe was so intriguing.

The shrimp I bought at Chef's Store was de-veined, shelled, and without tails. Rather surprisingly, the three-pound bag didn't cost an arm and a leg (maybe just a few fingers and toes). It's clearly not something I'll purchase very often, but it wasn't as pricey as I'd feared.

Here's the recipe:


1 c. water
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. walnuts
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
1 c. cornstarch
Vegetable oil for frying
1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. heavy cream
Cooked white rice, for serving
Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add walnuts and let boil for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove walnuts and let cool on a small baking sheet.
  2. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place eggs in a shallow bowl and cornstarch in another shallow bowl. Dip shrimp in eggs, then in cornstarch coating well.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1” of oil. Add shrimp in batches and fry until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, honey, and heavy cream. Toss shrimp in sauce. Serve over rice with candied walnuts and garnish with green onions.

I decided to double the recipe, and (ahem) increase the amount of walnuts by a bit since I love walnuts.

As it turns out, that was a mistake. As much as I love walnuts, this dish shouldn't be overwhelmed by them. Next time I'll scale the nuts way back.

Following the directions, I let the shrimp defrost and drain, then patted it dry with towels.

I chopped up the nuts a bit...

...then boiled them in sugar-water for a couple minutes.

I scooped the nuts out of the sugar water and laid them on a sheet.

Next up, the coating for the shrimp. This consists of beaten eggs in one bowl, and cornstarch in another.

First I added a bit of salt and pepper to the shrimp...

...then dumped the shrimp into the eggs and mixed to coat them well.

Then I dumped all of that into the cornstarch bowl. This may not be the scientifically precise way to do things in the culinary world, but what I can say, I'm a lazy cook.

I made sure everything was stirred and thoroughly coated.

Meanwhile I heated some olive oil in a pot. I seldom fry anything, so this step had me the most worried because I wasn't sure how hot the oil should be before adding the shrimp. I guess frying is fairly forgiving, because I gently lowered the shrimp (about half at a time) into the pot, and it went fine.

I did have to break up the shrimp as it fried, since it wanted to clump together with the cornstarch, but that was no big deal.

While the shrimp was frying, I mixed up the sauce (mayonnaise, honey, cream)...

...and stirred it.

I scooped the fried shrimp out of the oil and let it drain on paper towels.

Then it was time to mix everything together.

Okay, folks, this turned out to be fabulous.

The only mistake, as I mentioned, was adding too many walnuts. I'll definitely scale that back next time I make this dish.

Shrimp is too expensive to repeat this recipe very often, but as an occasional treat, it's wonderful!


  1. Looks amazing. Since my hubby can't have shrimp, I'm wondering if this would be good with chicken breast instead.

  2. Any copycat recipe is less $ than eating out. I like the Panera Bread broccoli soup.
    Debbie in MA

  3. Lol, my husband has to drive right by Panda on his way home from his truck driving job in Spokane (once a week). He frequently brings me honey walnut shrimp. My complaint: Not enough walnuts! I'll have to have him swing by Cash & Carry next week so I can try your recipe! Thank you!! Merryann

  4. I too love shrimp, and alas, eating out. Am unfamiliar with this restaurant, but this recipe looks good. Haven't eaten out since co-vid struck, but living in the boonies and limited finances taught me long ago adaptive alternatives.
    To begin with, I want ALL of the things I want. Don't we all?

    This is what has evolved. Most restaurant food, though delicious, is unhealthy in many ways. Portion size can contain enough calories to feed a small family. And on and on.
    Shrimp are not only one of my favorite foods but are extremely adaptive in recipes. A one pound bag lasts me quite a while. Think seafood omelettes,seafood pizza, stir fry, salads, casseroles, and the list goes on. Used as an accent it goes a very long way, you get to enjoy it much more frequently, and healthy uses for it become more enjoyable.
    We all need about .4 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily for good health, more if you're active. So divide your body weight by 2 and that's about what you need. I for one prefer to be a glutton for shrimp or steak, but to get to enjoy these things fairly often, am willing to scale back.
    So I take my protein allotment for the day and divide it up into meals and snacks ( nuts, cheese, etc.). For most of us, 20 grams of protein per meal (3 x day), hits the mark.
    For lean beef you can get what you need from a mere 2 ounces of meat. In a stir fry it's plenty to give wonderful flavor as a ( guilty) pleasure. With shrimp it just takes a few, the back of bag will tell you. This forces you to eat lots of veggies if you're a pig like me.
    The shrimp are awesome in omelettes. I just saute them up with onions and celery in a little butter and olive oil and it makes a delicious filling. Don't forget that eggs are protein too so if needed you can skimp a little on shrimp and still get a good meal.
    Next, shrimp pair well with other meats. Think jambalaya. Shrimp, cajun sausage, and chicken usually are the protein stars of that dish. In the beginning that dish came from poor country people using what they caught or killed going into one pot and becoming a meal. Be careful using this method since our taste buds might not always agree. Wild duck does sub well for chicken.

    Lastly, most of us pick up fat as we age. This happens even if we maintain the same body weight and caloric content to our food.
    It's not just that we eat our heaviest meal at night. Starchy foods and sugar are converted to glycogen which fuels our bodies for activity. Glycogen converts to fat for energy storage after 4 hours.
    Most of us love rice, pasta, potatoes,and breads as an important part of our evening meal. Midway through our sleeping cycle, glycogen becomes fat.
    Those nighttime carbs do make for a deep sleep though, and without them you may not sleep as deeply. There are a lot of good teas however that have a sedating effect which offset the loss of evening carbs.
    This has become my way of eating and it's pretty painless as a basic diet. It has also been helpful to some health problems from aging. Maybe it can be helpful to others.