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Pictorial: Salt and Pepper Shrimp


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Pictorial Recipe

Salt and Pepper Shrimp (椒鹽蝦)

The famous Cantonese "Salt and Pepper Shrimp" is actually quite easy to make. But to make it like the restaurant style requires a high-power wok burner. The home version may not be as crispy, but tasty just the same.

Picture of the finished dish:

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Serving Suggestion: 2 to 3

Preparations:

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Main ingredients (from upper-right, clockwise):

- 1 1/4 lb fresh shrimp with head and shell

- 1 chili pepper (e.g. jalapeno pepper)

- 5-6 cloves of garlic

- 2 stalks of green onions

- a few cilantro (for garnishing)

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Use a pair of kitchen sears, trim off the sharp horn and fillers from the shrimp. They are annoying to deal with at the dinner table.

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Rinse to clean the bodies of the shrimp well under running water. Place on a strainer to drain off the excess water well (perhaps leave for 30 minutes before cooking).

(Not shown): Trim, peel and mince 5-6 clove of garlic. Trim and cut the jalapeno pepper into thin slices. Trim and finely chop 2 stalks of green onions.

Cooking Instructions:

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Use a wok, set stove at high temperature. Add about 4 cups of frying oil and preheat for about 10 minutes or so (if you have a high-power burner it may not take as long) until the oil is hot enough for frying. You can tell by the slight smoke from the oil and that the oil start whirling.

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Add the shrimp and deep-fry for a minute. The idea is to use intense heat to cook the seafood very quickly. If you have a high-power wok burner, the shrimp shell should turn very crispy.

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After a minute, the shrimp looks bright orange and the legs look crispy.

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Scoop up the shrimp and drain the hot oil using a colander.

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Drain the frying oil from the wok. Continue with high heat setting on the stove. Add 2-3 tblsp of cooking oil. Wait until oil start fuming.

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Add minced garlic, sliced chili pepper and chopped green onions. Add 1 tsp of salt (or to taste). [Note: typically more salt is added in cooking this dish.]

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Stir-fry for about a minute. If you have a high-power burner, the minced garlic would turn crispy like the restaurant version.

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Returned the shrimp.

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Stir and toss for another minute until the ingredients are evenly coated on the shrimp. Finished. Transfer shrimp to a serving plate.

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Voila! Serve immediately. Many Chinese eat the heads and shells with this Salt and Pepper Shrimp. The only question is: would you too?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Mmmmmmm!!!! One of my favorite restaurant dishes. Even some restaurants don't get the shrimp crispy enough. As you say, it depends on the heat of the burner!

When the shrimp are really crispy, the shells are delicious and completely edible, like eating shrimp-flavored crackers!

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Ah Yeung:

I covet your Sacramento Seafood purveyor. You seem so often able to purchase Shrimp/Prawns that have lot's of Bright Fat (eggs) Rarely available in Seattle. in their Shells. Removing the Sharp Horns and Fillers in a terrific idea. It quick and makes the dish more enjoyable.

As as soon as it begins warming up outside I like to cook Shrimp, "Salt & Pepper" using my Hong Kong Kerosene pumped up "Wok Burner".

Some Restaurants in the Shatin area of Hong Kong claim to cook the Shrimps first in a Wok covered only with Hot Coarse Salt stirring quickly in hot salt then immersing in hot first press "Peanut Oil" after putting in diced garlic and sliced ginger to remove the Peanut taste from the oil, strain and throw away.

Add the Shrimp removed from the salt soon as oil begins smoking together with Garlic, Chili and Spring Onion constantly stir short time, plate, garnish with cilantro and serve.

If we are lucky enough to buy "Fat Shrimps" it's always the fastest who gets the most heads off to suck out the delicious fat that everyone quickly learns how to spot

Irwin

Edited by wesza (log)

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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hzrt, is it not necessary to devein? Another way of doing this is to put everything in together and pour the lot through a fine strainer. Nice pics!

The only time I devein is when I peel shrimp for hubby. He doesn't handle shells very well. :rolleyes: But, I think if you cut the shell at the top, it may add to the cripiness.

I seem to remember my head cook saying that the drier the shrimp shells are, after rinsing, the crispier the shells will be when you deep fry them. Same principle as air-drying the duck when making Peking duck, I suppose.

I wonder if this process will work: Deep fry the garlic and chili peppers in the hot oil first. Take them out when crispy; toss together with coarse salt. Heat up the oil again and deep fry the shrimp so they will pick up the garlic flavour and chili heat.

Drain then toss together with the garlic, chili, salt mixture to coat. Serve immendiately. Of course, there will be a small plate of special salt on the side for dipping. :wub:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Just some musing thoughts.

Oil is oil. Heat is heat. The difference between the high heat stoves and the regular ones is timing in getting the intensity of the heat to that point where you can fry and get a crisp shell. With a low heat stove, the oil cools off quickly when food is added and by the time the shell would be crisp, the flesh is tough.

So what if you added only part of the shrimp at a time? The same principle as stir/frying with meat. Don't allow the oil to cool off when the shrimp is added.

Again --- the aroma went from your kitchen to mine, Xiao hzrt! Just looking at the pictures an the scent of that garlic and hot oil came wafting to NJ!

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Just some musing thoughts.

So what if you added only part of the shrimp at a time? The same principle as stir/frying with meat. Don't allow the oil to cool off when the shrimp is added.

I was thinking the same thing. Using more oil should also help keep the frying temperature up.

I'll have to try this some time. Don't most restaurant dust the shrimp with cornstarch first?

Edited by sheetz (log)
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Just some musing thoughts.

So what if you added only part of the shrimp at a time? The same principle as stir/frying with meat. Don't allow the oil to cool off when the shrimp is added.

I was thinking the same thing. Using more oil should also help keep the frying temperature up.

I'll have to try this some time. Don't most restaurant dust the shrimp with cornstarch first?

Sheetz -- I was thinking about the cornstarch, too.

I just checked thru my recipe folders and I DID dredge the shrimp in either cornstarch or waterchestnut powder.

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[...]Many Chinese eat the heads and shells with this Salt and Pepper Shrimp.  The only question is:  would you too?

Yep! More calcium.

This is a dish which I have often ordered as part of a dim sum meal. Sometimes, when it isn't circulated on carts, I special order it. Relatively simple dish, great taste and texture!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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hzrt, is it not necessary to devein?

Not really. I know... you are thinking that's what we will be eating... Well, in the restaurants I have never seen a deveined shrimp in this dish. One issue is if you cut open the shell to devein, the shell will fall off when you deep-fry the shrimp because the intense heat will make the shell curl up.

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

I wonder if this process will work: Deep fry the garlic and chili peppers in the hot oil first. Take them out when crispy; toss together with coarse salt. Heat up the oil again and deep fry the shrimp so they will pick up the garlic flavour and chili heat.

[...]

I thought of deep-frying the garlic first too. (I thought I would try the regular way first.) That might just be the ticket! I will try that next time. But one thing with deep-frying the garlic is that the flavor tend to get absorbed in the oil. We'll see... :smile:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I'll have to try this some time. Don't most restaurant dust the shrimp with cornstarch first?

Some do, some don't. I have eaten this dish both ways. I think I like the version without cornstarch. I might experiment with the other version next time.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Usually the vein in the medium to large shrimp, used in this dish, is not that apparent or large. The bigger ones -- yes, but not these.

However, you can remove the vein without cutting the shell. I tried to find something on a google for it, but the only place I found wanted a membership. BUT I'll see if I can explain it.

First I'll explain how to devein a shrimp without the shell but without slicing the back of the shrimp. Simply use the tip of a paring knife or strong toothpick and poke it across the back of the shrmp just as the back meets with the tail. Just stick the tip just under the surface and lift up. The vein should come up with the tip. You don't cut along the back, ----you poke under the surface across the back at that spot where the tail begins.

With the shell on (and with the head removed) do the same thing. Use the pointy tip of the paring knife and stick it through that same space between the base and the tail. It is a soft spot on the shell, between hard areas. You might have to poke around, at first, to get the hang of it.

I guess if the head is on, you would have to sever the tip on the vein at the neck, first.

Once I had a woman in my classes who didn't mind the vein, no matter how big or black it was. What she didn't like was the blood vein that runs under the shrimp! THAT --- she HAD to remove!

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^I've heard of that deveining trick, too, using a straightened out paper clip to poke the hole thru the back of the shrimp.

Paperclip! Perfect! Nice and firm, won't break like a toothpick, won't slice too deeply and always at hand! Thanks!

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Only wimps devein. :raz: You would lose a lot of juice (flavour) while deep frying if you devein.

Regarding the sequence of the cooking steps, one of our old cooks used to do it all simultaneously. He'd fire up the wok oil, plunge the shrimps into the deep fryer, stir the seasonings into the wok, take the shrimp out of the fryer and blend into the flavourings in the wok. DONE!!! The cooking only takes about a minute, usually less. This will ensure that the shrimps have what we Chinese call tui how, that is the shrimp flesh has that mouth feel that "pops" when you bite into it, never chewy.

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[..]

This will ensure that the shrimps have what we Chinese call  tui how, that is the shrimp flesh has that mouth feel that "pops" when you bite into it, never chewy.

A little translation:

tui how [Toisanese] = tsui hou [Cantonese] = crispy [English]

:smile:

Yeah, I think deveining takes too much time too. :raz:Dai quan sik sii quan (and no, I am not going to translate this one... ) :wink:

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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  Dai quan sik sii quan  (and no, I am not going to translate this one... )    :wink:

Aw -- c'mon! At least give me the characters!

Can you imagine if all the shrimp used in a Chinese restaurant had to be de-veined! AAAAGGGRRRR! I always tell people that if you devein, you lose flavor. :wink:

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   Dai quan sik sii quan   (and no, I am not going to translate this one... )    :wink:

Aw -- c'mon! At least give me the characters!

Okay... you asked for it.... See if you can figure this one out! This is Hong Konger Cantonese! :smile:

大菌食細菌

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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   Dai quan sik sii quan   (and no, I am not going to translate this one... )    :wink:

Aw -- c'mon! At least give me the characters!

Okay... you asked for it.... See if you can figure this one out! This is Hong Konger Cantonese! :smile:

大菌食細菌

Well, Alta vista and NJ Star both give me "Big fungus food germ/ bacterium", but I have a feeling that they are being polite.

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   Dai quan sik sii quan   (and no, I am not going to translate this one... )    :wink:

Can you imagine if all the shrimp used in a Chinese restaurant had to be de-veined! AAAAGGGRRRR! I always tell people that if you devein, you lose flavor. :wink:

Well, my staff used to devein all the shrimp we used in the restaurant. :blink: They would use sharp paring knives, cut along the back down far enough for "butterflying", and pull out the black if it is visible. This chore was completed during down time after lunch.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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大菌食細菌

Well, Alta vista and NJ Star both give me "Big fungus food germ/ bacterium", but I have a feeling that they are being polite.

Well... it is some silly "made up" terms by Hong Kongers. And we do it all the time! :laugh:

細菌 does mean bacteria. 大菌 - not quite big fungus... it just implies human being... meaning that we are giants compared to bacteria, so eating a small amount of bacteria is no big deal.

Just a self-comforting self-denial when we happen to eat something that is suspected unclean.

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