So here I am with my first post in far too long. I have to apologize, as Jenn is the one who spends most of her day in a professional kitchen and yet she is the one who still finds time to come home and post in her spare time!
Salt and Pepper Shrimp is a pretty much a standard at most chinese restaurants, and is usually done deep-fried. This variation (another winner from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen) is a pan-fried version that is really simple, and delicious. It's great for those evenings when you're both short on time and have an empty fridge (the only perishable thing it calls for is ginger and scallions). It's traditional to use smaller, thin-shelled shrimp and eat them whole (the shell crisps up nicely and gives a nice crunch), but I've used peeled as well with great success.
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of sugar
400g of small, frozen shrimp.
2 cloves of garlic, sliced.
2 inch piece of ginger, sliced
3-4 scallions cut into 1 inch pieces
3-4 dried chilies, deseeded and cut in half (optional)
Defrost, trim and rise the shrimp. Mix together the cornstarch, salt, pepper and sugar and add the shrimp. Heat a wok or cast-iron pan on medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil. Spread the shrimp on the pan in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook in batches if necessary. Leave the shrimp untouched for 30-45 seconds, allowing them to crisp. Gently turn them over, to do the other side. Stir fry gently for another 2-3 minutes and remove the shrimp from the pan.
Lower the heat to medium low, add a little more oil. Add the ginger, garlic, and chiles (if using), and stir fry gently to release the flavor into the oil. Just as the garlic begins to crisp, add the scallions and the shrimp back into the wok. Stir fry for 20-30 seconds. Serve with rice.