Salt & Pepper Shrimp with Jalapeños

Chinese Take Out at Home

Here is a Chinese restaurant dish that you can make at home –  Salt-and-pepper shrimp. Large pink shrimp, fried just so, tossed with lots of salt, pepper and jalapeños. Irresistible as a nibble or as a main-course feast piled on rice.

Salt & Pepper Shrimp with Jalapeños

Serves 4

1 tsp fine salt
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 large or 2 small shallots, peeled, finely chopped (or 4 green onions)
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 to 3 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, halved lengthwise, seeded, thinly sliced
1 lb colossal-size shrimp, 13 to 15 pieces, peeled, tail intact, deveined
1½ Tbs cornstarch
1 cup vegetable oil or expeller-pressed canola oil

Mix salt, sugar and pepper in a small bowl. Mix shallots, garlic and jalapenos in another small bowl. Pat shrimp very dry with towel. Toss lightly in a bowl with the cornstarch.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed wok or small saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. (Dip the edge of a shrimp in the oil; it should bubble vigorously.) Add a quarter of the shrimp; continuously move them around in the oil with metal tongs or a wire strainer, until they turn pink, about 40 seconds. Remove to a plate to drain; repeat with remaining shrimp.

Very carefully pour the oil off into a heatproof container. Return 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil to the wok (or a large nonstick skillet). Heat over medium-high. Add the salt mixture; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add the shallot mixture; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add all the shrimp; stir-fry just until shrimp are tender, about 1 minute. Immediately remove from wok to serving platter. Serve hot.

Red chili pineapple shrimp:
Substitute 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes for the jalapeno and add it along with 1 cup fresh pineapple (cut into 1/2-inch dice) to the shallot-garlic mixture in step 1. Sprinkle finished dish with chopped fresh cilantro.

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