Cleaning and Preparing Shrimp in the Shell

The Chinese often cook shrimp with the shells intact because the shells contribute much of the flavor. Stir-fried or deep-fried, the shells offer a crunchy texture not unlike that of soft-shell crab. In addition, the good flavors of a sauce are captured between the flesh and the shell. The black vein running the length of the shrimp should be removed, however.
Use medium-sized shrimp, about 3 inches long.
  1. First, pull off the little legs.

  2. Holding the shrimp flat, parallel-cut with a cleaver (or a paring knife) through the shell and about ½ inch into the shrimp along the back.

  3. This cut exposes the black vein.

  4. Pull the vein away.

  5. Dry the shrimp thoroughly by blotting them between layers of paper towel.

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