Friday, February 13, 2015

Chinese Salt and Pepper Shrimp (aka Salt-Baked Prawns)

In an authentic Chinese restaurant, the shrimp is cooked head-on with their shells until crispy so they eat like potato chips. This dish, from the south of China, is neither baked nor cooked with any large portion of salt. When eating these, the secret is to chew thoroughly.

1 ¼ Pound whole medium shrimp2 (pinch off feelers)
2 Teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Thinly sliced jalapeno pepper (red is hotter than green)
4 Green onions, sliced
Salt for blanching water
Cornstarch enough to coat shrimp (2-3 Tablespoons)
½ Cup peanut oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Soak the shrimp1 lightly salted cold water for 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Blanch shrimps for 10 seconds then quench in cold water. Blanching improves firmness. Drain and pat shrimps as dry as possible with paper towels.

Mince both garlic and ginger and set aside. Have ready cut up green onions and jalapeno. (Retaining the jalapeno‘s white-seed portion retains the hottest portion of the chile. I like hot so I leave it in.)

Heat wok on high. The secret of cooking these is to not excessively brown the coating otherwise they will be over done.

Lightly coat the shrimps with the cornstarch. When the wok is hot, add the oil. Shake off excess cornstarch, and, when the oil is very hot (385o F), stir fry the shrimp in batches. (Make sure the shrimp are completely covered with hot oil.)

Pour off the oil but retain. Turn out the shrimps onto a paper towel-covered plate. Reheat the wok; add back one tablespoon of oil. When oil is very hot, stir fry garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and green onions until fragrant. Add back the shrimps and toss well. Correct seasonings. Serve immediately on a pre-heated platter.

  1. Medium shrimp are younger the jumbo shrimp hence the shells are not as tuff.

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