The Martin Yan cookbook I snagged a month or so back at a rummage sale for a buck continues to pay dividends.
Tonight I concocted a slight variation on one of his shrimp recipes, and came up with the following:
- Peeled/deveined about 3/4 pound of large-ish shrimp (16-20s)
- Tossed ’em with a pinch or two of kosher salt, one minced garlic clove, and a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes
- The shrimp and seasonings would then get stirfried until practically done in a wok, maybe 4-5 minutes.
- Added the premixed sauce: 2 1/2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp ketchup, 1 tsp hot chili paste, 2 tsp honey.
- Thickened it a tad with maybe 1/2 tsp of cornstarch in 1 tsp water.
AND THAT WAS IT.
This was amazingly easy to throw together, and tasted just great. Hints of sweetness with the honey, followed up with a sneaky increase of heat and then a finish of the garlic.
Yan’s version leaves the shells on the shrimp and dusts ’em with cornstarch before wokking ’em with dry red chilis and garlic. But the sauce is the same. The texture on his version would be different, but I’ve never been crazy about leaving the shells on shrimps. If you fry ’em enough and they crispy, fine, but I didn’t trust myself. And I still got what I wanted – shrimp in a thick, clingy spicy sauce.
A recurring motif in this Yan book is also the use of balsamic vinegar and hoisin sauce to create sweet/sour effects underneath chili heat. The Kung Pao recipe uses this, as well as some others, and I discovered it worked rather well. Despite large amounts of chili paste with red pepper flakes on top of it, the dishes do not come out overly hot, but well balanced.
AND my copy is an autographed first edition! Not too bad for a buck.
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