Spicy Red Chili Shrimp Sauté with Asian Veg and Rice Noodles

Spicy Red Chili Shrimp Sauté with Asian Veg and Rice Noodles

I love it when a trip to the grocery store turns into a date night adventure (and, yes, that seems to happen often for my husband, Rick, and me). I also love it when said adventures result in something as delicious as this Spicy Red Chili Shrimp Sauté with Asian Veg and Rice Noodles.

As we headed out the door the other night, I grabbed a recipe I’d been craving for a while. {My favorite “Old School” preferences don’t just apply to cooking… I actually still print my recipes out so I can make all kinds of notes on them as I shop for, prepare, cook, plate and enjoy them… (1) I’m a tactile person and I’m always “taking note” of things, and (2) I do this because if I take the time to make someone else’s recipe, I trust that the recipe writer has done their homework while making it, so I figure that good notes are just part of my job!}

The recipe I’d been craving was Mario Batali’s Spicy Shrimp Sauté from New York Times Cooking. I’ve had great results with variations of his recipes before, and this recipe was pretty quick and straight-forward. With a few tweaks guided by a serious craving for more veg and a hearty but not heavy meal after a ridiculously long day, his fabulous recipe became an Asian vegetable-filled feast featuring delicate rice vermicelli noodles and, yes, some absolutely gorgeous fresh brown shrimp from our favorite fish market.

The “adventure” part came after getting our shrimp when we decided to scamper across the street to United Noodles. I’m embarrassed to admit that it was our first time ever, and even more than expected, were absolutely blown away by all the amazing things they had. (Needless to say, we didn’t stick to our “grocery list”…)

Spicy Red Chili Shrimp Sauté with Asian Veg and Rice Noodles recipe from BaconFatte.com

We’ve heard so many great things about them – they’ve been on my list of places to go for years. There were so many interesting sauces and types of noodles, and gorgeous little treats that I never even knew existed. And their fresh produce selection is just as unbelievable. It’s a cook’s paradise! My only regret is that we didn’t go much sooner.

I only needed a couple of sauces for my recipe, but what should have taken 10 minutes for us to pick up took well over an entire bliss-filled hour. {Don’t judge. Just go there and you’ll see what I mean when you lose your own food-lovin’ mind!}

Ah-hem… O.K., so, back to our recipe… It’s still almost as easy as I’m sure Mario intended it to be. The vegetable prep and cooking the noodles adds a few more steps, but I promise you those steps are very well worth it!

Spicy Red Chili Shrimp Sauté with Asian Veg and Rice Noodles recipe from BaconFatte.com

Shrimp Love

If you’re new to cooking with fresh shrimp, here are a few notes on shrimp preparation to make sure you enjoy the best results with your dish:

  • If peeling and deveining the shrimp yourself, save the shells and simmer them in the water you’ll use to cook the vermicelli (remove the shells before you combine the liquid and noodles). You can also add the liquid from the cans of bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, and/or a good pour of sake to the pot for a little more flavor.

Spicy Red Chili Shrimp Sauté with Asian Veg and Rice Noodles recipe from BaconFatte.com

  • Shrimp cooks quickly. To make sure your shrimp are tender rather than tough in the finished dish, it’s important not to overcook them. I used larger “13-15 count” shrimp here. The cooking times suggested below are based on larger shrimp and the fact that I like a little crunch in my vegetables in the end. Please adjust according to your shrimp and your preference in crunch.
  • If you’re unsure about cooking everything together, just sauté the shrimp first. Then, remove the shrimp from the pan just before they’re completely cooked and set them aside while you cook the other ingredients. When the vegetables are as tender as you like them, just add the shrimp back in and stir for up to a minute or so to incorporate all the flavors.
  • As it cooks, shrimp flesh turns whiter, the edges and tails turn various shades of orange/red, and the shrimp bodies curl. Similar to noodles, don’t cook the shrimp completely before incorporating them with the rest of your ingredients – they’ll finish cooking while you’re finishing your dish. The more they cook, the more they curl. When they’re “C-shaped”, they’re done. If they curl up into tight little rings, they’re overdone.
  • Here’s a great list of shrimp tips from Huffington Post – including a short video that shows how to quickly and easily peel and devein them.
  • If you’re using frozen, previously cooked shrimp: Make sure they’re completely thawed and add them to the ingredients during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

How spicy?

If you’re still with me, that means the word “spicy” in the title of this recipe hasn’t scared you off. That’s a “Win” for both of us, my friend!

As always, if you’re not a fan of spicy food you can adjust the level of heat to suit your preferences. Everyone has their own ideas about what spicy is, but despite the number of “spicy” ingredients here, this is not an overly spicy dish. I assure you that the sweet soy sauce and coconut milk, and the abundance of vegetables and noodles tame the fires considerably. We actually add a few pinches of cracked red pepper flakes at the end for a little extra kick. {We’re kind of crazy like that!}

All in all, this Spicy Red Chili Shrimp Sauté with Asian Veg and Rice Noodles is an elegant dish that comes together fairly quickly. The bright, rich flavors are absolutely delicious, and it’s a great recipe for family style entertaining. And if you happen to have leftovers, I promise you’ll be very happy to have them the next day!

Spicy Red Chili Shrimp Sauté with Asian Veg and Rice Noodles recipe from BaconFatte.com


Spicy Red Chili Shrimp Sauté with Asian Veg and Rice Noodles
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Spicy Red Chili Shrimp Sauté with Asian Veg and Rice Noodles is an elegant dish that comes together fairly quickly. The bright, rich flavors are absolutely delicious, and it’s a great dish for family style entertaining. If you happen to have leftovers, you’ll be happy to have them the next day!
Recipe from:
Serves: 4 - 6
  • 1 pound large (13-15 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on and shells reserved*
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons fish sauce*
  • ¼ cup sambal
  • ¼ cup sweet chili sauce
  • 8 ounces (or more) cooked “rice stick” or “rice vermicelli” noodles
  • ½ pound snow pea pods
  • ½ pound baby bok choy (about 15 – 18 heads), washed, trimmed & halved
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • ½ cup carrots, peeled and julienned or thinly sliced*
  • 1, 8-ounce can bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1, 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 3 tablespoons light sesame oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions (6 – 7 stalks)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
  • 1, 14-ounce can light coconut milk
  • A big handful of cilantro, chopped
  1. If using fresh shrimp, peel and devein the shrimp. Then toss the shells in a big pot with about 6 cups of water and bring to a soft over medium-high heat for 20 minutes or so while you prep the rest of the ingredients. When the shrimp water is boiling, strain the shrimp shells out and discard them. Add the liquid from the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, and/or a nice pour of sake to the shrimp water at this time for a little more flavor if you’d like.
  2. Cook the vermicelli noodles according to the directions on the package. If there aren’t any directions, all you do is soak the noodles in the hot shrimp water for a few minutes until they’re tender. Strain the noodles from the hot water, rinse them with cold water, and strain again. Then set the noodles aside to air dry – making sure to toss them often to avoid sticking – while you prepare the shrimp sauté.
  3. In a medium-sized glass bowl, add the red curry paste, fish sauce, sambal, and chili sauce, and stir well. Add the peeled shrimp to the bowl, toss to make sure the shrimp are completely coated with sauce, and set aside.
  4. Prepare the snow pea pods, baby bok choy, red onion, and carrots. Place everything in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sesame oil and allow it to heat just until it reaches the point of smoking, then add the shrimp and sauce. Sauté the shrimp for a minute or two, then add the snow pea pods, baby bok choy, red onion, carrots, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Stir well to coat everything with the oil and sauces, and sauté for another minute or two.
  6. Add the scallions, sweet soy sauce and coconut milk. {NOTE: This is also where add the shrimp if you sautéed them separately as outlined in the Shrimp Love notes above, or thawed shrimp, if using.} Stir well and cook 1 – 2 minutes until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and heated.
  7. To serve, layer cooked noodles in the bottom of a bowl or rimmed plate. Spoon shrimp, vegetables and sauce over the noodles and garnish with plenty of fresh chopped cilantro. And a pinch of cracked red pepper flakes if you want. Small “drizzle bowls” filled with sweet chili sauce and sweet soy sauce are optional. Devour immediately.
Cook's Notes:
Cook’s notes:
*Carrots: The outer peels can appear “dirty” in the finished dish, so I recommend peeling them before julienning or slicing. You can very quickly “slice” carrots paper thin with your vegetable peeler. Hold the carrot at the top, and “peel” starting at the bottom end using short, quick strokes while turning the carrot, to create super thin, angled slices.

*Fish Sauce: The fish sauce is a great addition in this recipe – in fact, the original recipe called for a lot more. But, due to reader comments on the original recipe and personal preferences, I reduced the amount to allow the other flavors shine and lessen the sodium content a bit. Less fish sauce made this dish more enjoyable the next day as well because fish sauce flavors do tend to build over time.


Local Love

Not to be pushy {I swear – my Minnesota Nice upbringing makes it impossible for me not to share things that I believe in my heart of hearts might be helpful to you!}… But if you live in or around, or plan on visiting the Twin Cities area, do treat yourself to some of the best-ever “Minnesota Food Experiences” at Coastal Seafoods and United Noodles as soon as absolutely possible. You won’t be sorry!

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