Thursday, February 19, 2015

fried shrimp w/ sweet & spicy blood orange sauce - happy chinese new year!

As many of you know, my mom, a.k.a. Munchy, a.k.a. Momma, a.k.a. Eileen from accounting, is the best chef I know in the entire world. Although my older posts (because they're blurry, dull, poorly written, and structured) do not exemplify the true quality of her cooking, you can click here for more of Munchy's signature dishes. Not only are her favorite recipes delicious, but they're also quick, often times requiring less than 20 minutes to put together. Straight from the cookbook of a working parent, rest assured this recipe is simple, quick, and super delicious, tailored to the busy parent lifestyle. 

So as you might have guessed, yes, I'm disclosing another chowfidential family recipe. This time I'm showing you how to make the most delicate fried shrimp, and a sweet and spicy blood orange dipping/drenching/drinking/socially acceptable to chugging sauce. Traditionally, this recipe doesn't have any blood oranges in it, but I had them and I thought, what the heck. Shrimp look orange (actually they're more like pink, but who cares), citrus and seafood go well together, this could work. Even without the orange, whenever my mom makes this it's instantly gone the second she turns her back. This recipe is a killer for any of you in the market for a delicious party hors d'oeuvre, or if you're looking for something a little more adventurous for Chinese New Year. Nevertheless, you don't really need a special occasion to make this. I don't care if today is a tuesday in the middle of a cloudless day in Kansas, go buy yourself a bag of oranges and a sack of shrimp cause it's fried shrimp w/ sweet & spicy blood orange sauce time. I've got to learn how to shorten my titles. 

1. First let's prepare the sauce. In a saucepan, saute the minced garlic and ginger in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute, or until the garlic and ginger become fragrant. Try not to let the garlic brown or burn. 

2. Add the ketchup, asian chili sauce (if you can find sambal that is perfect), sugar, and blood orange juice. Bring it to a boil and turn off the heat. That's it your sauce is done. Including prep time, this sauce should only take you 10 minutes tops. This recipe will definitely make extra. Fret not because this sauce pretty much goes well with everything: chicken, broccoli, green beans, rice. It's the perfect weekday cheat!

Next we'll prepare the shrimp. The chinese way of frying shrimp is to use cornstarch. My mom has her own particular way of doing it. If you follow these 6 simple Munchy patented Shrimp Frying steps, you will surely have the crispiest, lightest, most delicious fried shrimp in the neighborhood. 

3. First step is to twist the heads off. Please don't throw the them away. In fact, reserve all of the heads and the shells in a separate bowl. If you simmer them in some water, wine, onions, celery, and bell pepper it makes a righteous shrimp stock. For a party, or just in the effort of convenience, I would advise you to peel the shells and heads off. Although, I've found that not only is it more fun to peel the shrimp at the dinner table, but it stays juicer and more flavorful. It's up to you. Keep in mind that even if you decide to leave the heads on, you should still shell and devein these. 

4. The second step is to cut the shell. With a pair of kitchen shears, cut along the back side of the shell until you get to the tail. Stop when you reach the tail. 

5. Step three is to devein and rinse the shrimp. The vein is that black stream of poop that runs along the back of the shrimp. It's actually the intestine, which actually means the black stuff is poop. Don't worry, it's really easy to clean out, especially if you have long nails. Rinse them under the tap to make them even easier to clean. 

6. Step four is to peel the shell and legs off. I don't think this step needs much explanation. Just peel it off. Don't forget to reserve those shells. 

7. Step five is to lightly coat the shrimp with cornstarch and salt. After ten minutes, rinse the cornstarch and salt off. I don't know if this step is entirely crucial, or if it even does anything. However, this is the way Munchy insists on making hers. She says the cornstarch helps to get rid of that slimy film on the outside of the shrimp. Nevertheless, at least it seasons the shrimp. 

8. Lastly, and step number six, dredge the shrimp in a final coating of cornstarch and you're ready to fry. 

9. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, or deep fry at 350F. One of my mom's tips to gauge whether or not the oil is hot enough is if you put a wooden chopstick (or a wooden skewer) into the oil and little bubbles form around the chopstick it's ready. Fry the shrimp in batches. You don't want to bring the temperature of the oil down too low, or crowd the pan. Fry until golden brown. Remember the shrimp continue to cook even after you take them out from the oil. Immediately season with salt. Carefully, however, because we did season the shrimp with salt earlier. 

There are several ways of serving this. One way of presenting it is on a big platter with the sauce in the center. Another way is to make lettuce wraps, stuffed with shrimp (sans heads & tails), fried noodles, alfalfa sprouts dressed with blood orange juice, white wine vinegar, and olive oil, and a pocket of that amazing sauce. That was what I was trying for, but my lettuce was too rigid for a burrito. Instead I got something that resembled something like a tostada, which isn't a disaster at all. I should have used bibb lettuce instead of iceberg lettuce. It's important to note that I purposely messed up so you wouldn't have to. You could also put the shrimp back into the sauce and serve it alongside or over rice. If all else fails, the cocktail shrimp presentation never gets old. Any presentation you choose Momma and I guarantee it will be delicious. 

I...*ahem...Munchy and I would like to thank all of you for reading the post and commenting below for future chowfidential recipes, tips, and tricks. Also like and subscribe by email to receive instant updates on the blog, plus any promotions or giveaways we may have. I really hope you guys give this one a go. Happy Chinese New Year 新年快乐! And as always, 



For Sweet & Spicy Blood Orange Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
2 whole garlic, peeled and minced
2 small knobs of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoon garlic chile sauce
2 tablespoon blood orange juice, about the juice of one orange

For Fried Shrimp

2 to 2 1/2 lbs medium-sized shrimp with the heads on
2 to 3 tablespoon cornstarch, just to coat
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cornstarch, this time to dredge
season with salt and pepper

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