Recipes by Rosengarten: Szechuan Shrimp with Chili and Garlic Sauce

This Chinese wok-fried dish is a fiery hit.

This is my favorite Szechuan recipe ever to make at home. Follow all the crazy little details for a spectacular, spicy result. Serves four as part of a Chinese dinner.

1 pound medium shrimp
4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons chili sauce (I use Heinz brand)
2 teaspoons shao hsing
1 teaspoon thin soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste with garlic (like Lee Kum Kee brand)
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon MSG
4 cups peanut oil
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger root
3 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1/2 cup minced scallions (about 4 fat scallions, white and green parts)
3 dried red chilies
Cilantro leaves for garnish

Peel, de-vein and butterfly the shrimp. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and allow to stand for 1/2 hour.

During this time, prepare the sauce: mix together the hoisin sauce, chili sauce, shao hsing, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste with garlic, sesame oil, hot chili oil, sugar and MSG. Reserve.

When you are ready to cook, bring the peanut oil to 375 degrees in a wok.

Thoroughly wash the salt off the shrimp with running cold water. Add another teaspoon of salt to the shrimp, mix, let stand for 30 seconds, and wash off the salt. Repeat this procedure twice more. The final time, drain well but do not dry--let some water cling to the shrimp.

Immerse half of the shrimp in the hot oil, and cook until just past translucent (20 seconds or so). Remove the shrimp to paper towels. Add the remaining shrimp. The oil will not be as hot, so this portion of shrimp may need 30 seconds to finish cooking. Remove them to paper towels.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok. Over high heat, stir-fry the ginger, garlic, scallions and dried chilies for 1 minute. Add the reserved shrimp, and toss well to blend. Add the reserved sauce, and stir to coat the shrimp. Turn the dish out onto a platter, garnish with cilantro leaves, if desired, and serve immediately.

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