I am posting this recipe as a blog rather than as a recommended dish because as fun as it was to make, I'm not sure I will put this on my regular rotation. The method for frying this shrimp is called "passing through," and is commonly used in Chinese cuisine to par-boil or par-cook proteins before stir-fying. It draws the moisture out of the protein so that when you finish cooking it, you get a crispier result (in other words, you partially cook the protein in the oil, or sometimes boiling water, and then when you stir-fry it, water doesn't release from the protein which would water down your sauce and potentially steam rather than fry the fish or meat).


BUTTERLY THE SHRIMP, LEAVING THE SHELLS ON. Pass it through 2 inches or so of oil at 350 degrees. This means frying the shrimp for about 10 seconds. It is not fully cooked when you scoop it out of the oil. Drain and set aside. Make the sauce: Combine 1/3 cup catsup, 1 TBS. and 1 teaspoon of dry sherry, 1 TBS. and 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside. Heat 2 TBS. of oil in a wok and bring the heat up so that the oil is shimmering. Stir fry scallions (cut on the diagonal in 1 inch pieces) and about 8 1 inch slices of fresh ginger. Then pour in the sauce and let it thicken. Next add the shrimp(s) to the wok and stir fry until done. Serve with white rice. 

So what makes this dish difficult for me to recommend without reservation is that you are eating the shrimp in their shells. This is more common in Asian cuisine than in Western cooking. And eating shrimp shells is perfectly safe. When flash fried, as in this recipe, the shells are paper thin and crispy. The shrimp and the sauce were delicious, and the first bite of the blossom-y 'head' part of the butterflied shrimp was delightful. Closer to the tail, the shell got a little thicker and less delightful. I was only slightly alarmed once when I felt a piece of shell going down my throat. Overall, this was a really good dish and the "passing through" technique is one that I will undoubtedly employ again when stir-frying shrimp, although I will probably peel the shrimp next time. This was not a wasted effort but a learning experience that resulted in a tasty bowl of crispy crunchy shrimp. Very crispy shrimp. VERY crunchy.

By the way, according to Merriam-Webster, the plural of shrimp is shrimp OR shrimps!

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