Stir-Fried Sichuan Shrimp with Dried Red Chiles

De Arbol (Capsicum Annuum) means tree like in Spanish. The plant has thick, upright, woody stems and the chile itself is narrow, curved and bright red in color. Believed to be closely related to the pequin, the De Arbol is thin fleshed, with tannic, smoky, grassy flavor and searing heat. This chile has a heat range of 7.5 on the heat scale of 1-10. De Arbol Chiles are comparable to a Cayenne Pepper. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 30,000.

Suggested Use:
De Arbol is a hot chile and a staple in Southwest kitchens. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish. Be adventurous and add them to your next stew or chili along with the other spices. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish.

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1/3 cup vodka
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
10 dried red chiles (de arbol or Thai)
2″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 -3/4 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 scallions, white parts only, coarsely chopped


In a small bowl, stir the vodka in with the soy sauce, ketchup and vinegar. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the chiles, ginger and Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry over high heat until the chiles and peppercorns darken and the ginger starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 10 seconds. Add the shrimp, season lightly with salt and stir-fry until just cooked, about 3 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and slowly add the vodka sauce. Using a long match, carefully light the sauce. Return the skillet to the heat and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring. Add the scallions and serve immediately.

Recipe by Susanna Foo from “Fine China” in the September 2005 issue of Food and Wine Magazine.