Look, it's February 1 and I am already living up to my Chinese New Year promise of giving you seven Asian dishes in the month of February! I was actually considering amending my promise so that it was 7 Chinese dishes in the month of February, but I can't make up my mind. I love Chinese food, but I have all these other Asian recipes and dishes that I want to make too! So I'm reserving judgment. But I am going to use this month to make a lot of the Chinese recipes that I have bookmarked to try, but not gotten around to in my Fuchsia Dunlop cookbooks because there are a ton of them. So for this first recipe I decided to make a shrimp recipe from her Hunan cookbook. I promise that I will get around to noodles and dumplings (because both are traditional dishes served at a Chinese New Year banquet/meal), but I wanted to whip up a quick stir-fry tonight. And I wanted to use some shrimp because I feel like Alex and I have been gorging ourselves on pork lately and there is definitely more pork to come later in the week.
This stir-fry came together quickly and beautifully (as many stir-fries do). You get the wok screaming hot, drizzle in some oil, add your aromatics and your protein, stir a little and WHAM - your meal is finished. I love it. The most onerous part of putting together a stir-fry is prepping all of the ingredients, although this one really wasn't that bad. And it was really delicious. The shrimp has this wonderful garlicky, mildly spicy flavor. And the potato flour and egg white marinade creates this... crust isn't quite the right word because it's soft, extra texture to the outside of the shrimp, and also works to help the garlic stick to the shrimp. Then you have the wonderfully mellow onion flavor from the chives. And it's all just wonderful. We served the shrimp with some steamed rice and Hand-Torn Cabbage with Vinegar, another Fuchsia Dunlop recipe. I really really enjoyed the cabbage. It was super easy to put together and very flavorful. We both agreed that it made an excellent side dish. It was a little spicy and had a nice sour tang from the vinegar, and a sweetness from the cabbage. I thought it was an excellent meal, and an excellent start to my Chinese New Year project!
Recipes after the jump!
Fisherman's Shrimp with Chinese Chives (Yu Jia Chao Xia Qiu)
Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan ProvinceBy Fuchsia Dunlop
1 lb fresh or frozen raw large shrimp, thawed if frozen
3 oz Chinese chives, trimmed and cut into 1 1/4-inch pieces
2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped salted chilis or 1 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
1 fresh red chili, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup peanut oil for cooking
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp potato flour
1 small egg white
Shell and devein the shrimp, removing and discarding the heads and legs, if necessary, then rinse and shake dry. Put them in a bowl, add the marinade ingredients, and mix well; set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok over a high flame until it reaches 300 degrees F. Discard any excess egg white from the shrimp, then add them to the wok and fry briefly until pinkish but not fully cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Drain off all but 3 tbsp oil. Add garlic and chopped salted chilis and stir-fry briefly until fragrant. Add shrimp, stirring well, followed by the vinegar. Add chives and fresh chili and stir-fry unil they are barely cooked. Season with salt to taste, remove from heat, stir in sesame oil.
Hand-Torn Cabbage with Vinegar (Shou Si Bao Cai)
Adapted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province
By Fuchsia Dunlop
14 oz green or Chinese cabbage (we used Napa cabbage)
3 dried red chilis, split in half lengthwise and most of the seeds removed
2 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
3 tbsp peanut oil for cooking
Tear cabbage into bite size pieces. Rinse and dry well. Heat wok over high heat and add 2 tbsp peanut oil. Swirl to coat. Add cabbage and stir-fry until tender but still a little crunchy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium if necessary to keep the cabbage from burning. Push the cabbage to the side of the wok and add remaining tbsp peanut oil to the space cleared at the bottom of the wok. Add the chilis and toss in hot oil. Toss chilis with cabbage. Season with salt to taste. Add vinegar and stir to combine.