Shrimp with Ginger and Wine

Jiumen Xia

Preparation info

    Appears in

    Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook

    By Ellen Schrecker

    Published 1976

    • About

    Flavor: Mild and GingeryDinner: Menu

    It’s a shame that we can’t catch crayfish in New England, where we now live, for Mrs. Chiang insists that this delicate shrimp dish tastes even better made with crayfish. Szechwan was so far from the sea that salt-water shrimps were unknown there, and the recipes Mrs. Chiang uses for shrimp were originally created by her mother for the crayfish that lived underneath a bridge near the family’s home. However, shrimps are so delectable prepared in this manner that it would be difficult to imagine anything better. Like many subtly flavored dishes, this one calls for only a few condiments. Wine and ginger are the main ones used, and, as they cook together with the shrimps, they combine to produce a delicate, almost buttery-tasting sauce. The essential simplicity of this dish means that it is as easy to prepare as it is delicious.

    Method

    Preparation

    1 pound medium-size raw shrimps (for a yield of 25 shrimps, approximately) Rinse the shrimps well under running water. Pull off their legs, but leave the shells on. Using a scissors, cut a small slit halfway up the back of the shrimp. (This will allow the marinade and cooking sauce to penetrate the shrimps more easily.)
    1-½ inch piece fresh ginger Peel the ginger, then chop it very fine, until it reaches the consistency of farina; you should get about 1-½ tablespoons of chopped ginger.
    2 scallions Clean the scallions, then chop them, both the white part and most of the green, into tiny pieces, about the size of a match head.

    (shrimps)

    1-¼ teaspoons salt

    (scallions)

    (1 tablespoon of the ginger)

    ½ teaspoon granulated sugar

    Put the shrimps in a dish. Add the salt and mix thoroughly, then add the chopped scallions, 1 tablespoonful of the chopped ginger, and the sugar. Make sure that everything is well combined, then let stand for at least 30 minutes.

    Cooking

    2-½ tablespoons peanut oil Heat your wok or pan over a moderately high flame for 15 seconds, then add the oil. It will be hot enough to cook with when the first tiny bubbles form and a few small wisps of smoke appear.

    (the remaining ginger)

    (shrimps and their marinade)

    When the oil is ready, throw in the rest of the chopped ginger and the shrimps and their marinade. Stir-fry over a moderately high flame for 2 minutes, using your cooking shovel or spoon in a scooping motion to toss the shrimps around in the pan so they are all exposed to the hot oil.
    3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or cooking sherry

    Add the wine, then cover the pan, lower heat slightly, and let the shrimps cook for about 2 minutes longer.

    As soon as the shrimps are cooked through, remove them from the pan and serve.