Many of the best home cooks I know cook by instinct. They can tell by the way something smells, looks, feels or sounds how it will taste. They also have developed their own ways to do things. My dear mother-in-law is one of these cooks. Having raised three athletic sons, she has cooked…a lot and her shrimp are the best. She preps them so that the flesh of the shrimp curls outward but stays wonderfully tender. When I asked her about how she cuts her shrimp to achieve this, she carefully explained how to devein a shrimp. I explained that I have deveined many a shrimp but they never looked liked hers. A moment of silence followed. “Hmm…maybe I do cut the shrimp a little deeper than other people.” She then went straight into her kitchen to write out her recipe for me. Here it is, her ‘top secret formula’, generously described with lots of pictures to boot (my successful attempt is on the one with the purple plate!) —monkeymom
shrimp (16/20 size at least)
gloves garlic, sliced
asparagus spears, ends trimmed
In This Recipe
Remove the shrimp’s shell. With a small sharp knife slice into shrimp’s back and cut a little deeper than half way through. Devein right away. Rinse in the water, drain, pat dry with paper towel.
Marinate with cooking wine, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp sugar and corn starch. Leave it in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes or longer.
Heat a large pan (that has a cover) on high heat. Add vegetable oil and allow to heat for 1-2 minutes. Add sliced garlic and stir fry for about 1 minute to flavor the oil. Remove the garlic when slightly browned, but not burned (you can save it and serve it later if you want to).
Add the shrimp and stir fry about 3-4 minutes. Add ¼ cup of water and cover for 1-2 minutes to allow shrimp to steam slightly. Take out the shrimp with a slotted turner or spoon before it is overcooked. Leave the extra oil & natural sauce in the pot.
Sauté the asparagus (or any green vegetables, such as sliced celery or broccoli) in this left-over oil and sauce. Add 1/4 cup of water, 1/2 tsp Salt & ¼ tsp Sugar. Cover the pot, steam cooked 2-3 minutes in medium temperature until the veggies are done. Don’t overcook to keep them green and nutritious. Uncover. You can either evaporate remaining liquid or keep it as a sauce. Remove from pan. You can serve with the natural sauce or remove if too oily.
Serve the shrimp and vegetables together. Enjoy!
Options: add little white pepper or hot pepper/sauce if desired. You can also add some fresh tomato or tomato sauce to ½ of the shrimp to make ying-yang shrimp.
My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I'm finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I'm really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.