Salt-Baked Shrimp
Chinese Recipe

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This shrimp dish, from the south of China, is neither baked nor cooked in a large quantity of salt. The name is a result of the historic popularity of salt-baked chicken, which led to many foods being called "salt-baked," even though they were not, says Yin-Fei Lo.

The dish calls for Thai chilies, which are preferred because of their consistent degree of hotness. If they are not available, you may substitute jalapeños or any other chili. The shrimp are oil-blanched in a quart of oil. After cooking, strain the oil through a strainer lined with paper towels and place it in a clean glass jar. Stored in the refrigerator, the oil can last for months and be used for stir-frying or reused for deep-frying 4 or 5 times, notes Yin-Fei Lo.

dot-red.gif (973 bytes)Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)

1/2 pound medium-large shrimp (about 12), feelers removed, shell slit along the vein and the shrimp deveined but with the shell left on
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups peanut oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh Thai chilies

dot-red.gif (973 bytes)Cooking Methods

Place the shrimp and baking soda in a bowl, and mix well to coat. Allow shrimp to rest for at least 20 minutes.

Place the water and 1 tablespoon salt in a pot, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp, and water-blanch for 10 seconds. Remove the shrimp with a strainer, and run cold water through them to cool them. The water-blanching removes all of the liquid from the shrimp.

Place the shrimp in a dish, sprinkle with cornstarch to coat them lightly, and shake off excess. Heat a wok over high heat for 1 minute, add the peanut oil, and heat to 350 degrees. Place the shrimp in a Chinese strainer, lower into the oil, and oil-blanch for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, remove shrimp with the strainer, and drain. Transfer the oil from the wok to a bowl.

Return 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil to the wok, and heat over high heat for 20 seconds. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the chilies, and cook, stirring for 45 seconds. Add the shrimp, and cook, stirring, making certain the shrimp are well coated, for 1 minute. They should be dry and crusted. Turn off the heat, transfer shrimp to a heated platter and serve.

Jiu Yim Har

(Source: Daily News)


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