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Pictorial: Steamed Shrimp with Garlic

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Steamed Shrimp with Garlic (粉絲蒜蓉蒸蝦)

This classical Cantonese steamed shrimp with garlic dish takes a little bit of work - mostly for slicing each shrimp in half. The rewarding taste of fresh shrimp in rich garlic steamed to perfection is well worth it. The mung bean threads placed at the bottom of the dish would soak up the juice from the shrimp and they taste wonderful.

Picture of the finished dish:


Serving Suggestion: 2 to 3



Main ingredients: (From top right, clockwise) About 1 1/4 lb of medium size shrimp (with head). The larger the size the better (less work). About 1/4 of a stick of butter. At least one whole head of garlic (or maybe even 1 1/2). 3 bundles of dry mung bean threads. Some salt and light soy sauce. Not shown: 1 - 2 stalks of green onion.


Soak the mung bean threads in warm water for at least 2 hours before cooking.


This is the time-consuming part: cut each shrimp right in the middle into 2 halves.


Use 2 steaming dishes/plates. Drain the soaked mung bean threads and lay half of them on each plate.


Lay the halfed shrimp on each plate. It is easier (and better for presentation) to lay them one by one next to each other, with one plate of shrimp going clockwise and the other counterclockwise.


Peel the garlic and mince them with a garlic press. Use at least 1 whole head of garlic. May be even 1 1/2 to 2 heads. You cannot get too much garlic with this dish.

Also, finely chop 1 to 2 stalks of green onion.

Cooking Instructions:


Use a wok/pan. Set stove at high. Wait until pan is hot. Add 3 tblsp of cooking oil. Slice the 1/4 of a stick of butter and melt it in the cooking oil.


Add all minced garlic. Add 2 to 3 tsp of salt. Sautee the garlic for about 2 minutes.


Dash in about 2 tsp of light soy sauce. Stir well.


Use a small spoon to spread the butter/garlic/salt/soy-sauce mixture onto the shrimp. Try to spread as even as you can.


Use a double deck steamer (or steam the 2 plates separately if you don't have a double deck steamer), pre-boil the water. Steam the plate of shrimp for about 10 minutes.


Finished. Sprinkle some chopped green onions on top before serving.

1 person likes this

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Ah Leung Gaw....I need to gate-crash your dinners (have only 2 more days to do that) because so far during my 10 days in CA, we have only come across chinese food which do not pass the authenticity test. I hear your shrimp dish calling me............


Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Poor thing... My [kitchen] door will always be open for you and your family... :biggrin:

Have a nice flight home to the warm paradise! It's freezing (28F, -2C) in Sacramento!

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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That does look delicious but I'm unable to get shrimp with heads here. All I can get is frozen headless China Whites or Thai Black.

Now they have even started deveining them with deep slits in the back. I prefer to devein them myself because I can do it without cutting half way through them.

How do you think it would be made with headless shrimp?

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My keyboard is soaked with drool! What a torture to look at these pics. I think the heads contribute the extra-extra richness to this dish.

Leave the gun, take the canoli

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This looks great, a must try.


This is the time-consuming part:  cut each shrimp right in the middle into 2 halves.

Have you tried using kitchen shears to cut the shrimp in half?

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Good looking dish, love the garlic.

Does shrimp with head always mean that it is fresh and not frozen ?

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No, it means they were frozen with the head on and haven't been defrosted for more than a couple days. At least, that's what it means it my local H-Mart.

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I don't like butter in Chinese food, it tastes all wrong to me.

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Hey, omit the soy sauce and add a little paprika or saffron and it sounds like Spanish food to me.

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How do you think it would be made with headless shrimp?

Barbara: Head-on is preferred. But you can make it without heads too.

Mung bean threads are optional too. They don't add flavor to the dish, but will soak up the juice from the shrimp and taste wonderful.

Rachel: Thanks for the suggestion. That might just be the ticket to make this dish quicker.

muichoi: Using butter is my own touch. They probably don't use it in the restaurants. I do find the richness of butter enhances this particular Chinese dish.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Thanks for the suggestion.  That might just be the ticket to make this dish quicker.

To shorten the preparation, why not keep the shrimp in one piece and maybe prolong the cooking time a bit. Will this work?

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To shorten the preparation, why not keep the shrimp in one piece and maybe prolong the cooking time a bit. Will this work?

Actually that won't work. The essence of this "steamed shrimp with garlic" dish requires the garlic flavor to infiltrate around the meat. With the shell on in one piece, you need to shell the shrimp and then scoop up some garlic. Not as effective.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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I'm guessing if you do this with headless shrimp (all I can buy around here), you don't want to cut them in half, yes?

Oops, I didn't notice that previous post, although headless shrimp maybe offers more exposure of the meat.

Edited by bobmac (log)

"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

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Just made this last night for dinner! Thank you to Ah Leung for putting another great pictorial together.

Cutting tip: I was having trouble getting a knife through the shell and body without mangling the shrimp. I used kitchen scissors to trim the spiky barb and whiskers from the heads, then cut through head and backs. Then I used a boning knife to cut through the the rest of the body.

My two plates steamed in 5 minutes in a double tier aluminum steamer.

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With someone like DH who doesn't like to pick thru shrimp shells, I would do this with butterflied shrimp.

Actually, I like to cut shelled shrimp in half for any dish I make. The halves coil up and seem to extend the dish. 1 pound of shrimp seems like 1.5 pounds.

(I haven't been around recently. This will change when all the Christmas madness is over. I love this time of year, but boy-oh-boy ---- what work!!)

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Actually, I like to cut shelled shrimp in half for any dish I make. The halves coil up  and seem to extend the dish.  1 pound of shrimp seems like 1.5 pounds.

I do the same thing too! (I'm such a cheapskate.) But for this dish, I think I'll spring for the head-on variety.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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