This is the most representative Szechuan shrimp recipe—PenPen shrimp.
If you ever visited any places in Sichuan province, you might be shocked by how many chili peppers are in some main dishes like Szechuan style chicken, Szechuan boiled fish. There are two Chinese cuisines featured by the amount of chili peppers used. One is Sichuan cuisine and the other is Hunan cuisine, which is originated in Hunan and Hubei province, but also quite popular across the whole country too.
Then you may wonder about the differences about the two cuisines. Personally I love them both. As a foodie, I am willing to try yummy dishes from different cuisine, searching the theory behind the nice dishes and find about the commons and difference. Following is some of my thoughts.
- The chili peppers used in two cuisines are different: Sichuan cuisine loves to use Doubanjiang, dried chili peppers, pickled chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorn. While dishes from Hunan cuisine usually calls for salted chopped chili pepper (fermented ones) and fresh Hunan chili pepper (fresh ones).
- The stir frying methods are different.Many Szechuan stir fry recipes are using dry-fried or deep-fried including dry-fried green beans, dry-fried beef. While Hunan stir- frying recipes usually are fried with light coats instead of dry-frying.
- The serving way. Usually the spices and chili used in Szechuan dishes are just for flavoring but no one eat them. But many side spices and fresh peppers in Hunan dishes are edible.
This Szechuan shrimp is named as Pen Pen shrimp because usually it is served in a large hot pot salver in restaurants. This cooking method used in this recipe is a combination of dry pot and Sichuan boiled dishes (Shui Zhu dishes) like Sichuan boiled fish.
The featured step is pouring oil on the surface, which is also used in many other famous Sichuan dishes. Seriously you need to heat the oil really hot. This can help to strong the existing flavor and present a bright color of the dishes.
BlaBla about Whether to remove the heads and tails;
I know that many of your guys are quite uncomfortable when seeing shrimp cooking directly without removing heads and tails. The truth is, in Chinese dishes, heads and tails are always kept. The shell and head can help to prevent over cooking of shrimp meat. As long as the shrimps are well deveined, it is as clean as you wish.My tip is to cut the feelers and the sharp part on head and then open the shell a little, remove any dirty part and devein the shrimp. Wash in running water so that you can make sure they are well cleaned. Honestly I have tried to remove heads in some of my previous recipes and my true feeling is that indeed influence the taste a little bit
- 1 pound shrimp , deveined, wash and drain
- 1 tablespoon cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon whole Sichuan Peppercorns
- 1 teaspoons salt or more as needed
- 1 garlic cloves , sliced
- 1 inch root ginger , shredded
- 2 green onion whites , chopped
- 1.5 tablespoon doubanjiang
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Coriander for decorating
- 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds for garnishing
- 2 cups warm water
- 4 ~6 shitake mushrooms
- 2 cups of chopped cabbage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Several drops of oil
Clean the shrimp and drain. Then marinate with 1 tablespoon of cooking wine and several ginger shreds for around 10 minutes.
Bring some water in a large pot with several drops of cooking oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook side ingredients until soft. You can use other side vegetables too. Transfer out and place on the bottom of your serving bowl.
Heat up around 3 tablespoons of cooking oil until really hot. Place drained shrimp in to fry for around 40 seconds to 1 minute until the shrimp is almost cooked (the shell begins to change color). Transfer the shrimp out and remain the oil in wok.
Add garlic, ginger, green onion, Sichuan peppercorn to stir fry until aroma. Then add doubanjiang to fry for the red oil. Add warm water, salt and light soy sauce by order. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.
Return shrimp in to cook for another 1 minute. Transfer all the content to the serving bowl. Garnish roasted sesame seeds.
Heat up around 1 tablespoon of oil in wok and then pour the hot oil the surface of the serving bowl.
Decorate with coriander and serve directly.
You can add broccoli, cucumber too.
Since both doubanjiang and soy sauce are salty, I only list 1 teaspoon salt in recipe. Taste your soup and adjust the amount accordingly.