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A necessary preliminary step is to salt wash the shrimp to firm them up, which gives them a wonderful crunchy texture. Then it is necessary to coat them with a velvet-like egg white and cornstarch mixture; this protects the delicate shrimp meat from the oil and prevents overcooking. Once those steps are done, this dish takes but minutes to cook. Always buy the freshest shrimp possible.
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 egg white
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup peanut oil, for velveting (see note)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped whole scallions
- 1 teaspoon rice wine
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Chinese white rice vinegar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- To clean the shrimp. Fill a large bowl of cold water, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and gently wash the shrimp in the salt water. Drain and repeat the process, using fresh salted water. Then rinse the shrimp under cold running water, drain, and blot dry with paper towel.
- Combine the egg white, cornstarch and salt together. Coat the shrimp with the coating ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix well and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
- Heat a wok or large skillet until it is hot; add the oil. When the oil is just warm, quickly add the shrimp, stir to separate, and turn off the heat. Allow the shrimp to sit in the warm oil for about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander set inside a stainless steel bowl, reserving the oil.
- Reheat the wok, return 1 tablespoon of the drained oil and when it is hot, add the ginger and scallions and stir fry for 30 seconds. Then add the rice wine, vinegar, salt and the drained shrimp. Stir fry for 1 minute, turn out onto a serving platter and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.
- NOTE: Velveting—Unique to Chinese cuisine, this technique gives a particularly delicious texture to meat and seafood. Heat the oil to moderately hot or just until bubbles gently form over the surface of a test piece of meat. Add the meat and stir carefully just to separate the pieces. Turn the heat off and allow the meat to sit in the oil as long as the recipe specifies. Turn the meat into a colander set aside a stainless steel bowl and drain well.
- Fragrant Harbor Taste The New Chinese Cooking of Hong Kong.