Monday, November 11, 2013

The Hawthornes Prepare Mrs. Chiang's Shrimp Balls.

 One of our favorite cookbooks
 is Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook.
One of our across-the-canal-neighbors, Gervais,
makes the most excellent egg rolls that he shares with us.
He told me his recipe came from Mrs. Chiang's book,
so I had to order it and we've both
 made wonderful meals from her recipes.

 Today, we're making Fried Shrimp Balls
adapted from Mrs. Chiang's recipe.
I say adapted because Mr. Hawthorne
doesn't bother to measure
and when he does he doesn't measure correctly.

Shrimp Balls
 12 ounces shrimp
12 ounces ground pork
3 TB soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 scallions
3/4-inch piece fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
2 egg whites
2 tsp Chinese rice wine or sherry
3/4 tsp roasted, ground Szechuan peppercorns
1/2 cup cornstarch

Place pork in large mixing bowl and add soy sauce and sesame oil.
Clean scallions, then chop the white part into tiny pieces.  Add to the pork.
Peel the ginger and chop it very fine, until the consistency of coarse bread crumbs.  Add to the pork.
Shell and de-tract shrimp.  (It's not a vein running down the back, so I don't say "de-vein."  It's the digestive tract.)  Pulverize the shrimp by mashing it into a paste with the flat side of a cleaver.  After mashing, give it 100 strokes with the cleaver.  Add shrimp to the pork mixture.
Finally add salt, egg whites, wine, peppercorns, and cornstarch.
Mix well, giving at least 40 vigorous strokes to thoroughly blend.
Shape into balls the size of golf balls.

Heat peanut oil to 350°.  Drop the balls carefully into the hot oil, one at a time.  Never crowd the pan.  It lowers the temperature of the oil and you'll end up with a greasy product.  When the balls go in, they immediately sink to the bottom of the pan.  In about 2 1/2 minutes, they bobbed back up to the surface, a beautiful golden brown.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Mrs. Chiang recommends you serve these simply with a salt and pepper mixture -
1 1/2 tsp salt with 1 TB freshly ground black pepper.

I also served with a Sweet and Hot Chili Sauce.

 Mr. Hawthorne pounds the shrimp.
 Chop chop chop.
 Minced ginger and scallions.

 Your hands are your best kitchen tools.

 Mix in the shrimp.
 Egg whites in.

 Chinese wine.


 Toasted Szechwan  peppercorns.
Watch these, because the first time I toasted them,
they caught on fire!

 Mortar and pestle them.

 Then add to rest of mixture.

 Roll into balls.
And fry.

 Outer Banks SeaSalt with cracked black pepper.
 Sweet Asian Chili Sauce.

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