Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wok Wednesdays: Chinese American Shrimp With Lobster Sauce

"Wow, this is really good" is what my 10 year old said as he polished his plate of the Shrimp with Lobster Sauce and jasmine rice.  This is saying a lot for a child who says to us he doesn't want to go to any more restaurants that ends in "-ese", like Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese.  I was pleasantly surprised that he didn't question the black beans or, for that matter, the green stuff (scallions). 

I really enjoyed making this recipe since it called for shrimp. My husband is slightly allergic to shrimp, so I usually order shrimp dishes in restaurants and seldom cook it at home. I just can't get enough of shrimp.  I have always wanted to learn how to cook with fermented beans so this was a great start to Wok Wednesdays.

From start to finish, the majority of the time spent in preparing this dish is in the prep work ( mincing and chopping) which include gathering and organizing the ingredients. Mise en place is essential when cooking in a wok, when the entire cooking process is rapid fire from the get go.  

Main ingredients:  shrimp, pork, garlic, ginger, fermented black beans, clam juice, thai chillies and scallions.  And one farm fresh egg from our chicken coop.

Unlike baking, my cooking set up is usually not this structured. I will look up 1-2 recipes of a particular meal, and come up with my own concoction. I suppose you can call it my creative outlet.   Needless to say, the organization above fed my OCD-ness. I usually don't have the patience to follow a cooking recipe verbatim. But today was different.  Kind of. Made some improvisations. I ended up buying a pound and a half of shrimp, rather than a pound.  I seem to think cooking a bigger serving is better.  I doubled the amount of garlic and ginger since I love both flavors. I used very little peppers so that it would be kid friendly. I substituted flour for cornstarch. According to Google, the ratio is 3 parts flour to 1 part cornstarch, but I  hesitated putting that much flour since I wanted to make sure I had plenty of "lobster sauce".

Oh, and I couldn't find clam juice at the grocery store. I've been walking around in crutches the past four weeks due to foot surgery, and I was just too damn tired to make another round down the aisles.  Passing the Italian section where I normally hang out, I grabbed a can of clam sauce thinking it would be a good substitute.  I didn't realize until five minutes before show time that the can was full of clams, parsley with a mucous-like consistency of broth.  Ew. Plan B was chicken broth, left over from holiday cooking.  It worked just fine.

Pan searing shrimp:

Sauteeing pork with ginger and garlic...

Combining shrimp and pork, a beaten egg, and scallions...

I would absolutely make this recipe again. My son loved it. My husband had a serving, despite his allergic reaction to shrimp. He said it was worth taking an anti-histamine. Next time, I would add more chilli peppers and fermented black beans.  I loved the freshness of the sauce from the boiled shrimp shells and freshly sliced ginger.

I really enjoy the fast paced cooking of the stir fry. Like the Neapolitan pizza that cooks at high temperatures in 60-90 seconds, much of the freshness, texture, and  flavor remain in stir fries.