Quick And Easy Chinese Spicy Shrimp

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:

  1. Peeled/deveined about 3/4 pound of large-ish shrimp (16-20s)
  2. Tossed ’em with a pinch or two of kosher salt, one minced garlic clove, and a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes
  3. The shrimp and seasonings would then get stirfried until practically done in a wok, maybe 4-5 minutes.
  4. Added the premixed sauce: 2 1/2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp ketchup, 1 tsp hot chili paste, 2 tsp honey.
  5. Thickened it a tad with maybe 1/2 tsp of cornstarch in 1 tsp water.


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.

The Best Tasting Sinus Cleaner: Hot & Sour Soup

Oooh…. what’s better for a head cold in the wintertime, eh? The toasted sesame aroma giving way to the vinegar and pepper as what can only be described as tasty Hunan lava flows over your insides while you pick out the mushrooms, noodles and salty pork…

This is sounding like porno! Team me up with Ron Jeremy & we’ll pitch it to Food TV!

Any bets on Ron eating them into bankruptcy?

I’ve tried different recipes for Hot & Sour Soup over the years. Mostly the variations occur in the “heat” source for the pepper flavor. I’ve seen chili paste, hot oil, various cayenne-based hot sauces, and hot bean paste used, all with slightly different results, but I keep coming back to the first recipe I ever tried, which uses white pepper.

And here it is!

First I cut up 4-5 black chinese mushrooms (or soften up some dried shittakes by soaking them and then slicing them up), and add that to 1/2 cup of bamboo shoots, maybe 1/4 pound of pork loin cut into very thin slivers, a tablespoon of dark soy sauce, a teaspoon of salt – all of which goes into 4 cups of chicken broth.

Bring it to a boil, and then simmer for 3 minutes. (Kosher? Vegetarian? Feel free to skip the pork, or substitute some pre-boiled or leftover cold chicken or precooked baby shrimp or even drained canned clams – anything a little salty works here, and you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.)

Add one cup of tofu cut into 1/4″ cubes (medium or firm works best), an ounce or so of bean thread noodles (presoaked in hot water for 5 minutes, and then cut into short pieces), a teaspoon of white pepper, and three tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Bring it back up to a boil. Now mix in a pre-mixed slurry of 3 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed into 3 tablespoons of water, and this will thicken the soup. Slowly pour in a beaten egg for little egg drops throughout.

You can freeze or refrigerate the soup at this stage, and it’ll keep frozen for weeks. To serve while hot, pour into bowls and garnish with sesame oil & chopped green onion. The ratios above should yield 4-6 servings as a soup course, or in MY case, two big cold-curing dosages of this magic elixir.

Or as Ron Jeremy might say – “This’ll put hair on your back!”

Come to think of it, that might not be the best advertisement for this stuff. But trust me, it’s damn good!

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