tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
tablespoons coarsely ground black peppercorns
small white onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
garlic cloves, peeled and grated
medium green bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
medium red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
pound peeled, deveined raw medium shrimp (fresh or frozen)
teaspoons soy sauce, plus more to taste
teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cooked white rice, for serving
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the black peppercorns and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and half the scallions, and sauté, scraping the bottom of the pot as necessary, until the onions turn translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the green and red bell peppers and sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the shrimp and sauté for 1 minute, then stir in 2 cups water, the soy sauce and fish sauce (if using). Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the shrimp just until they turn pink, about 2 minutes. (Keep an eye on them: The shrimp can turn rubbery quickly.)
- Working quickly as the liquid cooks, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl to form a slurry. Add this mixture to the saucepan as soon as the shrimp turns pink, and cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add more soy sauce, to taste, if desired. Garnish with the cilantro and remaining scallions. Serve hot or warm with rice.