Classic Dry-Fried Pepper and Salt Shrimp
Shrimp dishes are traditionally served during Chinese New Year celebrations to symbolize joy and happiness. This classic dry stir-fry from Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge" cookbook omits any stock or sauce to create a more concentrated shrimp flavor, with accents of garlic, ginger, chiles, and Szechuan peppercorns.
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 pound large shrimp (preferably fresh and not previously frozen), peeled and deveined
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon roasted and ground Szechuan peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno chile, with seeds
In a large bowl mix together 1 tablespoon salt and 4 cups cold water. Add shrimp and swish in the water using your hands for about 30 seconds. Drain. Repeat process with another tablespoon salt and 4 cups cold water; drain and rinse shrimp under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, mix together remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, and ground Szechuan peppercorns; set aside.
Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, ginger, and chile; cook, stirring with a metal spatula, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Push garlic mixture to one side of wok and carefully add shrimp, spreading them in an even layer. Let cook, without stirring, 1 minute.
Add remaining tablespoon oil and cook, stirring, until shrimp just begin to turn orange. Sprinkle shrimp with salt mixture and continue cooking, stirring, until opaque, 1 to 2 minutes more.