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Spicy Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp

Serve the shrimp with a citrus-soy dipping sauce: in a bowl, stir together 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, 2 Tbs. soy sauce, 1 Tbs. water, 1/2 tsp. minced fresh cilantro, 1/4 tsp. sugar and 1 garlic clove, minced. The dipping sauce may be made a day in advance, covered and refrigerated; bring to room temperature before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Tbs. corn or peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red or green jalapeño chili, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbs. mirin

Directions:

Make the spice mixture
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, five-spice powder, salt and pepper.

Sear the shrimp
Warm a wok or large fry pan over high heat until very hot and pour in 2 Tbs. of the oil.

Meanwhile, spread the cornstarch on a plate. Quickly pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and dip in the cornstarch, coating both sides and shaking off the excess. Add the shrimp to the wok in a single layer and sear, turning once, just until opaque throughout, about 1 minute per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a bowl.

Finish the dish
Return the wok to high heat and pour in the remaining 2 Tbs. oil. Add the ginger, garlic and chili and stir-fry until fragrant, about 5 seconds. Add the spice mixture and mirin, quickly return the shrimp to the wok, and stir-fry until the shrimp are coated with the spice mixture and are heated through, 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and serve with the dipping sauce (see note above). Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Asian, by Farina Wong Kingsley (Oxmoor House, 2007).