Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  

Pictorial: Steamed Shrimp with Garlic

Recommended Posts

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.

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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............

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

What can I say? That really looks awesome!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good looking dish, love the garlic.

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

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
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?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
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)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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!!)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tutorial. Simple to make and delicious. My only suggestion would be to make more sauce and if you like bolder flavors, season it with some more soy and fish sauce.



After (with added roasted garlic cloves)


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Today is 小年 (xiǎo nián) which literally means 'little [new] year', but is something more. It takes place approximately a week before Chinese New Year (February 16th this time round - Year of the Dog) and is the festival for the Kitchen God
      In traditional animist Chinese thought, there is a god for everything and the kitchen god is responsible for all aspects of, you guessed, the kitchen. Once a year (today), the kitchen god pops back  to report to the god of heaven on the happenings of the last 12 months. Therefore we have to placate him so he makes a good report.  My neighbours are busy preparing offerings of sticky rice and assorted sugary confections for the god, so that when he eats them, his teeth and lips will stick together and he will be unable to report any bad behaviour. An alternative theory suggest the sugary stuff will sweeten his words. Then we'll be OK for another year!
      This is  the fellow

    • By liuzhou
      These have been mentioned a couple of times recently on different threads and I felt they deserved one of their own. After all, they did keep me alive when I lived in Xi'an.
      Rou jia mo (ròu jiá mò; literally "Meat Sandwich") are Chinese sandwiches which originated in Shaanxi Province, but can be found all over China. Away from their point of origin, they tend to be made with long stewed pork belly. However in Xi'an (capital of Shaanxi), there is a large Muslim population so the meat of choice is more usually beef. In nearby Gansu Province, lamb or mutton is more likely.
      When I was living in Xi'an in 1996-1997, I lived on these. I was living on campus in North-West University (西北大学) and right outside the school gate was a street lined with cheap food joints, most of which would serve you one. I had one favourite place which I still head to when I visit. First thing I do when I get off the train.
      What I eat is Cumin Beef Jia Mo (孜然牛肉夹馍 zī rán niú ròu jiá mò). The beef is stir fried or grilled/BBQd with cumin and mild green peppers. It is also given a bit of a kick with red chill flakes.
      Here is a recipe wrested from the owner of my Xi'an favourite. So simple, yet so delicious.

      Lean Beef
      Fairly lean beef is cut into slivers

      Sliced  Beef

      Chopped garlic
      I use this single clove garlic from Sichuan, but regular garlic does just fine.
      The beef and garlic are mixed in a bowl and generously sprinkled with ground cumin. This is then moistened with a little light soy sauce and Shaoxing wine. You don't want to flood it. Set aside for as long as you can.

      Mild Green Chilli Pepper
      Take one or two mild green peppers and crush with the back of a knife, then slice roughly. You could de-seed if you prefer. I don't bother.

      Chopped Green Pepper
      Fire up the wok, add oil (I use rice bran oil, but any  vegetable oil except olive oil would be fine) and stir fry the meat mixture until the meat is just done. 

      Frying Tonight
      Then add the green peppers and fry until they are as you prefer them. I tend to like them still with a bit of crunch, so slightly under-cook them

      In with the peppers
      You will, of course, have prepared the bread. The sandwiches are made with a type of flat bread known as 白吉饼 (bái jí bǐng; literally "white lucky cake-shape"). The ones here are store bought but I often make them. Recipe below.

      Bai Ji Bing
      Take one and split it. Test the seasoning of the filling, adding salt if necessary. It may not need it because of the soy sauce. 

      Nearly there
      Cover to make a sandwich  and enjoy. You will see that I have used a bunch of kitchen paper to hold the sandwich and to soak up any escaping juices. But it should be fairly dry.

      The final product.
      Note: I usually cook the meat and pepper in batches. Enough for one sandwich per person at a time. If we need another (and we usually do) I start the next batch. 
      Bread Recipe
      350g plain flour
      140ml water
      1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

      Mix the yeast with the flour and stir in the water. Continue stirring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise by about one third. (maybe 30-40 minutes).
      Knead again to remove any air then roll the dough into a log shape around 5cm in diameter, then cut into six portions. Press these into a circle shape using a rolling pin. You want to end up with 1.5cm thick buns. 
      Preheat oven to 190C/370F.
      Dry fry the buns in a skillet until they take on some colour about a minute or less on each side, then finish in the oven for ten minutes. Allow to cool before using.
    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.

      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.

      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:

      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.

      The children don't get spared either

      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.


      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.

      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.

      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.

      On a nearby table is this

      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.

      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.

      Let the eating, finally, begin.
      In no particular order:

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato

      Bamboo Shoots


      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery

      Stir fried pork and beans

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)

      Pig Ears

      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs.
      We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.

      Stir fried Greens
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
      Roll on dinner time.
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and lead us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.


      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
      Then into lunch:


      Chicken Soup

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.

      Stir fried lotus root

      Daikon Radish

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable

      Fried Beans

      Steamed Pumpkin


      Beef with Bitter Melon

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice


      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known  for the quality of its pomelos.
      AFter lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.




      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.

      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.

      And here they are:
      After our seranade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.