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Spicy Shrimp, Singapore-Style

May 14, 2010

In search of some serious brain food, I headed over to my aunt’s a few nights ago. She had just the answer: shrimp with a spicy Singapore-inspired sauce. In light of my recent application for a job at Food & Wine magazine, my aunt scoured their site for a recipe, and found this quick and easy offering from Kolkata-born sommelier Rajat Parr.

I don’t really do head-on shrimp, so we just used regular. The recipe also calls for Asian sweet chili sauce, but we just used Sriracha, a red chili sauce commonly found in the international aisle of a grocery store.

They look innocent enough, but those shrimp were spi-cy!

After making it, my aunt and I found that we didn’t really taste the lemongrass and probably won’t use it next time — why buy it if you don’t have to? We’d also add more soy sauce and Sriracha, to kick up the Asian flavors. I had it with steamed broccoli and white rice, but I think it would be delicious with brown rice too.

Note (from 10/12): Recipe below, with our variations from the next time we made this. Like any good Indian, Parr uses a lot of ingredients. Most of these are pretty easy to find and probably already part of your pantry, but I’m sure that similar products that you have on hand will yield something equally tasty.

– 2 pounds large shrimp (I think we went with the 21-25 size, but you could go smaller or larger, depending on what’s on sale. Parr also recommends head-on shrimp, but that freaks me out.)

– 2 tablespoons ketchup

– 2 tablespoons dry sherry (we omitted this)

– 2 tablespoons Asian sweet chile sauce (we used Sriracha instead and added a little more, to account for the missing sherry and to give it a nice kick)

– 2 tablespoons lemon juice

– 2 tablespoons soy sauce

– 1 tablespoon sugar

– 2 medium jalapeños, seeded and minced

– white bulb of 1 stalk of lemongrass, minced (we found that this didn’t add anything to the final product, so you could add more or just omit)

– 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

– 4 scallions, sliced thinly

– 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1) Combine the ketchup, vinegar (if using), chili sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce and sugar.

2) In a large skillet, heat up a little vegetable oil and cook the shrimp on high heat. When they start to turn pink, flip them.

3) Add a little bit more oil and the jalapeños, garlic, lemongrass and ginger. Stir often until the mixture is heated through. Warning: it will smell delicious. Try not to lose your focus.

4) Stir-fry the scallions and the ketchup mixture in the skillet for 30 seconds, then mix in the chopped cilantro. Serve the shrimp with rice.

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