Chinese cooking calls for thoughtfully combining the artistic and the practical. To achieve both in a dish, being artistic includes making the food look as appealing as it tastes. Being practical requires that the ingredients are able to all reach the correct degree of doneness at the same time.

To succeed at the artistic and practical in a stir-fry, where the cooking moves fast, it helps when the recipe is written precisely. This includes both the directions for cutting up foods and how well it choreographs the preparation of ingredients and the cooking itself.

And I do mean choreography. Danny Kaye, the comedian, was an agile dancer. He was also a brilliant Chinese cook because he knew it required both culinary knowledge and properly coordinated physical movement.

Here, the ingredients provide an attractive combination of color and shapes. The dish balances sweet, tart, earthy and bright seafood flavors in foods that are crisp, tender, chewy and juicy with just enough salt to enhance them all. For appearance, cornstarch gives the sauce a nice, translucent sheen as it clings to the ingredients.

On the practical side, using medium-sized shrimp means their cooking time is close to that of the vegetables. (And costs less.)

For smooth choreography during cooking, place the ingredients in small bowls, combining the ginger and garlic together, ready to toss quickly into the wok all at once.

Group the bowls within easy reach. Better yet, have an assistant hand you the ingredients as needed. Finally, have a pretty serving dish close by.

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Teriyaki Shrimp Stir-fry with Pineapple and Peppers

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. lite Teriyaki sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 3/4 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 Tbsp. grated or minced ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 8 large white mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, in 1-inch cubes
  • Cooked brown rice

Directions

  1. Pour 1/4 cup of broth into small bowl. Add cornstarch and whisk to blend. Add remaining broth, Teriyaki sauce and ground pepper. Set seasoning sauce aside.
  2. In wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add shrimp and stir-fry until they look pink, 2-3 minutes. Turn shrimp out into bowl.
  3. Add remaining oil to wok. Stir-fry ginger and garlic until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and peppers and stir-fry until mushrooms look moist, 2 minutes. Add pineapple and return shrimp to wok. Stir seasoning sauce and pour it into pan. Stir-fry until the sauce thickens and boils, about 2 minutes. The shrimp should be white in the center. Serve immediately, accompanied by cooked brown rice.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
200 calories
9 g total fat
1 g saturated fat
13g carbohydrate
20 g protein
2g dietary fiber
290 mg sodium