The Steak of Shrimp
by Sandra Jones
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Some 40+ years ago my sisters and I used to regularly dine at the Shanghai Restaurant located at the edge of town. There we sat and ate our fill of the most delicious shrimp ever, coated with a thick, crunchy, golden batter that melted in our mouths. I still remember the chubby little old Chinaman, who was cook and owner of the family ran restaurant, peeping out the round kitchen door window to see who was ordering all the shrimp.
Throughout the years since I have eaten at countless Chinese restaurants, and searched through every Chinese cookbook I could get my hands on trying to find that exact taste, color, and texture. But nothing came close, nor tasted as good as his shrimp did.
Recently my son brought home some giant prawns--something he never did before. How to fix them was going to be a challenge. They weren't quite as big as lobster tails, but were far larger than normal shrimp.
I thought maybe they'd be good fried in a General Cho's type of batter and sauce, and began looking on the Internet for a good recipe. None I found seemed they would do this special shrimp justice. I plugged in a search for Chinese Shrimp and came across a recipe that grabbed my attention. This one used turmeric--turmeric was yellow! Had I finally found the recipe I'd been searching for all these years?
I imagined the combined textures and flavors as I read through the recipe's ingredients. It seemed this recipe called for too much cornstarch which would give the final outcome of the batter too stiff a consistency. The only spice listed was the turmeric. What if I added a little paprika to the batter?
Hmm, maybe, just maybe this recipe would work with a few adjustments. I was excited, and could hardly wait until time to cook dinner.
That evening neither my family nor I was disappointed. My son remarked, "Mom, these shrimp are what I would call the 'steak of shrimps', they are that good."
Now I will share my good fortune with you. One thing though... make sure when you are measuring out the dry ingredients that you "sift" them together with a sifter. It truly makes a big difference in the outcome of your batter.
Serving Suggestion: For a Chinese style meal, serve with rice, steamed vegetables, and fried noodles (recipes follow). YUM!
Melt in Your Mouth Fried Shrimp
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Tumeric
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 egg (well beaten)
1 cup ice water (my friend suggested beer)
2 tsp vegetable oil
Oil for deep frying
24 large shrimp, or about 18 large prawns
Shell the shrimp, leaving the tails attached. Wash and set aside onto a paper towel to dry.
Sift together dry ingredients into a bowl. Thoroughly stir the 2 tsp oil and ice water into the egg, and add to the dry ingredients, stirring with a wire whisk until smooth. Add more ice water if necessary.
Heat enough oil to cover shrimp in a large frying pan. While holding each shrimp by the tail, dip them into the batter. After covering them with a thick coating drop into hot oil to fry. Fry about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
TIP: Drop a few drops of batter into the oil, and when they swell and turn brown you will know the oil is ready. Be careful not to over crowd the pan; cook only a few pieces of shrimp at a time.
Serve with your favorite Oriental dipping sauce.
How to Cook White Rice
The trick to making good white rice is always remember the 2 to 1 formula: 2 cups water to 1 cup rice. Bring water and rice to a boil in a saucepan, cover immediately, and turn heat down to low and continue to cook 15 minutes. Makes perfect rice every time.
Sandi's Vegetarian Fried Noodles
1 small onion chopped
1 large clove garlic chopped fine
1 stalk celery chopped fine
1-1/2 cups sliced cabbage
1 tsp ground ginger
Soy Sauce (optional)
2 T Butter
3 packs of Ramen Noodles (any flavor)
Stir-fry cut up vegetables in butter. While they are frying boil Ramen Noodles in a large saucepan with only 1 package of seasoning mix (setting aside the other two for later) and cook until ALMOST done. Drain the noodles, reserving the liquid.
Add noodles to stir-fried vegetables along with the other two packages of Ramen Noodles Seasoning mixes and the ginger. Continue to stir fry all together until well blended, adding reserved liquid or extra butter as necessary. Add Soy Sauce to taste if desired.
These noodles are vegetarian, however, you can add any leftover meat you might have in your refrigerator.
Try these recipes on your friends and family and see if they don't think you ordered out.
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