Yangzhou, an ancient city located north of Shanghai, is known for its fine cuisine. I discovered this popular shrimp dish at a Yangzhou-style Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles.
1. In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with 4 teaspoons of the cornstarch and the salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water, making sure it completely dissolves.
2. In another small bowl, combine the ginger and garlic. In a third small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, vinegar, wine, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water.
3. In a wok or stir-fry pan, heat the oil over high heat until the oil is hot but not smoking. Test by dipping the spatula into the shrimp mixture and then into the oil; it should sizzle. Stir up the shrimp mixture and add it to the hot oil. Stir gently to keep the shrimp from sticking together. Cook until they turn opaque and pink, about 1 minute. Remove the shrimp from the oil with a wire strainer and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the oil and discard the rest. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel.
4. Heat the reserved oil in the pan over medium-high heat and stir in the garlic and ginger. Add the ketchup mixture and stir a few times, then return the shrimp to the pan. Stir constantly until the liquid comes to a boil. Stir up the cornstarch mixture and add it to the pan and continue stirring until thickened. Sprinkle the scallions over the top and give two or three big stirs. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.
This page created July 2009
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