This was a delicious and surprisingly simple experiment done with some ingredients had-at-hand and some cribbed recipes found online. We used some flash frozen shrimp that were in the freezer, but it would work just as well with chicken, beef or even pork (just moderately adjust the cooking times). We can’t claim to be avid cookers of Chinese-style food, but this was a very tasty variation on that theme that was not difficult to make.
Being generous on the fresh ginger, garlic and spring onions will really give this some depth, so don’t be shy on that step, and don’t over cook them – keeping these ingredients “alive” is a good thing. For 2-4 people you’ll need about 1 lb of shrimp.
But first – make the batter. In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup corn starch and 2 eggs. Make sure this is smooth and just thick enough to stick to the shrimp (or the chicken or beef cut into 1″ pieces; we’ll just take that as wrote going forward, “shrimp” = cut pieces of chicken, beef, pork or, well, just shrimp) but not so thin that it just runs off the sides too easily. If it is too thick, add a little water, if it is too thin, add a little flour. It should be just slightly thinner than pancake batter.
Peel and devein the shrimp, if need be, and place them into the bowl with the batter and lightly mix the whole thing – covering all the pieces of shrimp completely if possible. Let these stand at room temp for about 10 mins or so.
[Start your rice or noodles here so that it is all ready to serve – your choice – we went with brown rice and it was great.]
Next, make the sauce. In another bowl, combine 2 Tbsp ketchup, 2 Tbsp orange juice, 1-1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp sugar and 3/4 Tbsp corn starch. Mix together well so that the sugar and cornstarch dissolve and the cornstarch has given up all of its lumpiness. Set aside.
Coarsely chop about 1-1/2 Tbsp each of fresh garlic, fresh ginger and spring onions, then chop 1 red pepper into about 1″ square pieces.
Place about 1-2 cups of peanut oil (or veggie oil if that’s what you have) in a stovetop wok (or other high sided skillet) so that there is enough oil for your shrimp to float without touching the bottom, and then heat the oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Gently place your battered shrimp into the oil in small batches so that they don’t stick to one another. You will probably have to carefully flip them once so that both sides get cooked to golden – 2-3 mins per side. Remove each batch from the oil with a slotted spoon and let them drain on a plate on top of a few paper towels. Continue this process until all of the shrimp has been cooked and drained. Once all are cooked and draining, sprinkle about 1 tsp of salt over the top of them – just for flavor.
VERY CAREFULLY drain the excess oil out of the wok – best to let it cool a beat and then pour it into a disposable, heat-proof, sealable container to throw out later. If you can drain and use the same wok for the next step (with about 1-2 Tbsp of the peanut oil still remaining) without burning yourself, do that, if not, get a new skillet for the next step and add 1-2 Tbsp of peanut oil.
Over medium-high heat quickly cook the chopped, fresh garlic, ginger, spring onions until fragrant – about 30 secs, make sure you keep them moving. To this, add the chopped red pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for about another 1-2 mins, just to coat and sear. Then add the sauce and the shrimp and bring the heat down slightly. You will see the sauce start to thicken over the next 2-3 mins, once it does, turn off the heat and make sure it is all combined well.
Serve over rice or noodles, and enjoy.