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Spicy Chinese Shrimp (Pepper Salt Shrimp)

I don't even know what to name this dish. (edit: both of my parents have responded that the name of the dish is Pepper-Salt Shrimp) My mom showed me how to make it. I love how you can eat the whole shrimp, shell and all, for a spicy, salty, crunchy shrimp dish. Once when I ducked into a Chinese restaurant on the tail end of lunch, the table next to mine was filled with college-age women, all white. They were talking and laughing and one of them kept looking at me. I thought she was wondering why I would show up for dimsum alone and for once was feeling self-conscious about dining alone. But as they were leaving, she held out a plate of this shrimp dish and asked if I wanted it. "We didn't touch it," she explained. "We didn't realize it would have the heads on the shrimp." What luck! (and don't worry, for this recipe, we trim the heads off)

The food pictured in this post was prepared by my mom. I cooked it too tonight on my own but hers was more photogenic. Thanks Mom!



Spicy Chinese Shrmip

1 jalapeno pepper
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 spring onions (just the green tops)
shrimp (if using frozen shrimp, thaw in a bowl of cold water)
potato starch (or can just use flour)
salt and pepper
vegetable oil (for deep frying and stir-frying)

  1. Slice the jalapeno into rings. Side note, if your eyes are itchy, don't itch them until you've had a chance to wash your hands. Ow.
  2. Peel and slice the garlic
  3. Cut the spring onions into long skinny rectangles about 2-3 inches long
  4. Trim the shrimp. With these frozen shrimp, the head had already been trimmed off. The only part I had to trim was the sharp pointy piece near the base of the tail. If your shrimp still have heads on, also trim the sharp pointy part on the top of its head as well as the tip of the head.

  5. Salt the shrimp and sprinkle with potato starch (or flour)
  6. Heat about an inch of oil in a small pot. Oil is hot enough if you sprinkle water in and the water droplets sizzle.
  7. Deep fry the shrimp until it turns bright red/orange (pretty quick...watch closely)
  8. When you remove the shrimp from the hot oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper right away. At this point, the shell will be crispy and crunchy while the meat is still tender.
  9. In a pan, heat some oil and stir fry the deep-fried shrimp along with the hot peppers, garlic, and green onions.



Thread at cooking

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I can't get into shrimp with their clothes still on either... lucky for you if you can!

Ah well...easy enough to undress them. But for some reason, with this dish, the flavor seems to be greatly diminished if you eat them without their shells.

I didn't like this dish much as a kid, because I didn't like eating the shells, and was too lazy to peel them off. (And a lot of the flavor is in the shell anyway!)

When I was younger, I would peel the shells off and think the shrimp tasted kinda bland. But then when I finally just ate the whole thing, I found I really liked the crunch and the flavor. My dad will spit the shells out though so he gets the flavor without having to eat the shells.

How yum.

I can't eat them with the shells on, I don't know I'd much rather peel them :D

I used to peel them but it's kind of a pain to peel them. I started eating the shells just for convenience but then found I really liked the flavor and crunch.

It was a little bizarre to hear about frozen shrimp, frozen anything. I've been here so long now I tend to forget not everything is fresh and available from a nearby market. We even get fresh peas and the cheap labor even takes 'em out for you!

This dish looks like something we already eat... however the lady tends to overcook the shrimp, which I hate. I think I'll ask her if she'll try making this, definitely.

Cool deal at the Chinese restaurant! I love love dim sum too.

lucky you to be surrounded by fresh everything!

Oh, wow! Another dish I'll have to make. Although I think I'll use the Chinese dried chilis versus the jalapeno(to me there's a difference in flavor). I love this dish and order it when I can. I just didn't know how to make it.

I guess I'll have to see if I can swipe a friend's recipe for Camarenas del Diablo by way of thanks. :-)

I read your idea and thought, "Oh I should've used the Chinese dried chilis so I could get the spot of red in the picture." Sometimes I think I'm cooking just to get the photo.

In Seattle we have a wonderful International District with great Chinese restaurants. I feel like an idiot when I go for dimsum because I don't know what anything is called. I'm going to attempt this recipe!
Thank you and send my thanks to "mom" as well!

Yeah... I don't know what things are called either unfortunately. I just point and eat. Let me know what you think of it when you try it :)

Thanks. It was indeed delicious.

I don't think i could eat the shells either. I'll just have to come over and eat the ones you fixed.

But mine will still have their shells one too! :)

(Deleted comment)
Funny. I just heard about shrimp and grits for the first time from you and then the next day, another friend mentioned he had tried shrimp and grits for the first time when he was down in North Carolina. Now I'm definitely curious to try it.

Anything fried twice is all right by me.

I don't think we can digest the shells. Chitin? Just think of it as extra fiber!

I think we must be able to break down the shells to some degree. (TMI Warning) At least when I peeked at the resulting waste products, there were no obvious shells anymore.

When I was a kid, my mom used to MAKE me eat the shells. She said it was good for me - fibre, calcium and stuff like that. I'm not sure if what she said was true, or whether she just thought it was a waste to not literally eat everything on my plate. It was a real surprise when I found out, one day, that most people just peeled the shrimp.

I first started eating the shells out of laziness and I justified it to myself thinking "More calcium is good." Funny that you hadn't seen other people peeling their shrimp :)

I just happen to have

a pound of shrimp I need to get rid of so this sounds perfect!!! Thanks!

Re: I just happen to have

Excellent. Hope you enjoy it!

wonderfully! I generally eat the shells anyway if they are deep fried and these are so much better. I like the fact that they are light and there is no breading. I was out of fresh garlic (I can't keep it stocked b/c of my kids) so I just subbed some minced I had and it fried up into crispy little crunchies and used chili oil to fry them in. Easy, simple, pleasing to look at and great tasting. Thanks again!

Re: This dish turned out

That makes me very happy to hear. It's like I got a chance to feed you without having to do any of the work myself :)

This is one of my favorite dishes at the chinese buffet place that I use to go to in Madison, WI, near my workplace. No one believed me when I said how good it was. The only bad part was how much water I then drank!! ;>

Your recipes and pictures look so good, I just had to add you. I hope that's okay. :)

Yeah...sometimes they go a little crazy with the salt in that dish. Thanks for adding me. Always glad that someone likes my stuff enough to want to read along.

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