Monday, July 06, 2020

Chili Garlic Shrimp

Chili Garlic Shrimp, Chili Garlic Shrimp

Chili Garlic Shrimp

Shrimp tossed with lots of garlic, a hot chilli-garlic and soy sauce is the easiest dish to make. I added some of the Korean Gochujang sauce to the shrimp and it added a burst of flavors

Long back in elementary school, we had to routinely write essays in class, and I often wrote  one with an opening sentence like  "Man is a social animal". I don't think I understood what it meant. The heft of that sentence deluded my 10-11 year old mind. I had found it in some book and it seemed an important enough sentence to get the teacher's attention, and so  many of my school essays be it personal narratives like "My Best Friend" or autobiographical like " Life of a Bovine Creature", began with an opening of "Man is a social animal."

I understand that sentence now in my own way. Human beings seek company, even when it is not needed. Just for the heck of it.
Take me for instance. I was leading  a perfectly peaceful life during the quarantine period. I never felt the need to go out to party or meet people or have dinner together. Whenever I needed to talk, I did enough of that over Phone, texts, Whatsapp, Zoom, Facebook and what not. There was nothing more that I really needed to say to anyone face to face. But once the quarantine orders were lifted what happens ? We started planning on meeting people.

As Covid cases are decreasing in our state and seems to be under control, we have become more braver with meeting people. The fact that it is summer and we can mingle outside in the backyard has helped too. No knowing what the future holds though, who wins, the virus or humans need to socialize.

As Sandip Roy says in this article where he draws a metaphor between the pandemic and the Bengali's favorite "paashbaalish",  will the Bengalis side pillow outlast the pandemic, or will the virus be a steady factor in the life of humans as they go about socializing at less than 6 ft distance.

Now back to food, I have to sheepishly admit that I had no idea what Korean #Gochujang sauce was in the pre-Covid era.🙈
I heard a lot more about it during the lockdown as folks were creating dishes at home, that reminded them of their favorite restaurant joints. Or maybe they were always creating those but I had not paid attention.

Anyway I got a bottle of the Gochujang sauce last week at the grocery store. Since then I have been hooked and finished a bottle of it almost. I made this delicious Chili Garlic Shrimp using some of this sauce and our favorite Sichuan hot sauce. It was super easy and quick to make. Everyone agreed that it was delicious. It is the kind of dish that will help you ease into the "new normal" after blissful months pf "lyaad normal".

I have used Sichuan hot sauce and Gochujang sauce here. However if you don't have them, don't fret. You can use the Indian Chinese Red Chilli Sauce instead. You can also play around with the sauces to get the right note that hits your taste buds. Enjoy!

Chili Garlic Shrimp


Shrimp/Prawns -- about 30 raw shrimp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Paprika - 1/2 tsp
AP Flour - 1 Tbsp
Cornstarch -- 1 Tbsp

Onion - 1 small chopped in thin slices
Garlic - 5-6 cloves minced
Ginger - 1 Tbsp grated
Vegetable Oil/Peanut Oil/Sesame Oil - 4-5 Tbsp

Scallion/Green onion - to garnish

Make the Sauce

Sichuan Hot sauce Or Chilli-Garlic Sauce - 4-5 Tbsp (If you don't have this, use the Indian Chinese Red Chilli Sauce)
Gochujang Sauce - 4 Tbsp (If you don't have this, use a mix of Maggi Hot and sweet + Green chilli sauce + little Vinegar)
Soy Sauce - 1 Tbsp
In a bowl add all of the above and make the sauce. Taste and adjust as per your taste

Start Cooking

Clean the shrimp. If you are using frozen shrimp then defrost by running in water at room temperature. Don't ever use hot water or defrost in microwave. Another option is to put shrimp in a ziploc bag and dunk it in a bowl of water at room temp.

Dry the shrimp. Sprinkle salt and paprika and mix. Dust with flour and cornstarch and coat the shrimp

Heat Oil in a skillet. We will just shallow fry the shrimp so maybe 3-4 Tbsp Oil.

Once the oil is hot, add the shrimp, in a single layer and saute until they turn reddish and cooked. Flip and cook the other side. Shrimp cooks fast, specially the frozen ones.
Remove the shrimp on a plate and keep aside.

If there is oil remaining in the pan, use that. Or else add a little oil.

Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
When you get the aroma of garlic, add the grated ginger. Saute for a couple of minutes until onion is soft

Next goes in the sauce. Stir in everything in the pan together and cook the sauce for a minute or so. Sprinkle little water if necessary.

Now reduce heat and add the shrimp to the pan. Tossing it so that the shrimp is well coated with the sauce.

Switch off gas. Garnish with green onion and serve as main dish or even as appetizers.

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