Monday, June 1, 2020

Rosie Makes Bang Bang Shrimp.

We've been eating a lot of shrimp lately.
I ALWAYS have pounds and pounds of frozen shrimp.  Bought over a couple months during the fall  (in anticipation and fear of an early hurricane which would end harvesting shrimp), we pack 'em, heads off, shells on, in small freezer bags, about 10-12 oz. each.  That way, a quick meal is only a thaw away.  And I have to say, during these trying Covid times, that shrimp has come in quite handy.

I've done  shrimp etouffée, all manner of shrimp tacos, shrimp soup, shrimp stir fry, coconut fried shrimp, and I'm sure a few others.  I'm ready for something new.  I've heard of it before, but I've never had it - Bang Bang shrimp.

You might have seen restaurant dishes labeled bang bang chicken or bang bang shrimp and wondered what it is.  Bang bang chicken is an internationally popular Szechuan dish which has still retained some of its original identity.  The dish originated in Hanyang, China, a city located at the confluence of the Han and Yangtze Rivers. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Hanyang  merged with the cities of Hankou and Wuchang to form Wuhan.  So, armed with that bit of history and information, bang bang shrimp is truly a dish for our times.

Hanyang had long been famed for its high-quality chickens and in the early 1900s, Hanyang street vendors sold chunks of chicken cloaked in a spicy sauce as a snack on skewers.  The snack was known as “bang bang chicken” because of the wooden clubs, or “bang,” they used to hammer the backs of the cleaver blades through the meat to tenderize and loosen the fibers for shredding.  The word bàng also means “stick,” so the name could have derived from that also.

At any rate, I’m foregoing the bird, and going for the shrimp in this dish.  The shrimp will be lightly fried and then draped in a spicy sauce with hints of salt, sweet, sour, and tingling heat.

That said, here's Rosie's Bang Bang Shrimp.

Rosie’s Bang Bang Shrimp

1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and de-tracted (That black line running down the back is the digestive tract, not a vein.)

Cover the shrimp with buttermilk and shake a tablespoon or two of hot sauce (Texas Pete) over top.  Stir and let soak while you prepare the rest.

For the Bang Bang Sauce:
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sweet chili sauce
1 TB sriracha sauce
1 TB honey
1 TB rice vinegar
Mix all ingredients until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate.

Prepare the shrimp coating:
1 cup corn starch
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Mix all ingredients until well-combined.

Drain shrimp, shaking off excess liquid, then toss in coating mix, covering evenly.
In a deep frying pot, heat about 3 inches peanut oil to 375°.  Fry shrimp in batches, 6-8 at a time, depending on size of pot, until golden brown – about 1 minute.  Drain.

Serving suggestions:
Pile shrimp on a bed of rice, add some steamed vegetables, and pour on the sauce.  Top with roasted peanuts and sliced scallions.
Alternatively, you can go with a fried tortilla or puffy taco with shredded cabbage, carrot, and bell pepper.  Tuck the fried shrimp inside and generously drizzle the sauce over top.

Cover with buttermilk.

And give it a few shakes of Texas Pete for good measure.

Let shrimp soak while you assemble the bang bang sauce ingredients.

Combine sauce ingredients and stir until mixture is smooth.
Note:  This sauce would be just fine on a hamburger,
or for dipping fries into, or for any number of uses.

The first time I made this,
I served the shrimp on a bed of rice 
and added some steamed broccoli on the side.
Cover with the sauce and sprinkle on toasted peanuts and chopped scallions.

We liked this so much on Day 1,
that I decided to make it again on Day 2.
With some adjustments.
As in more frying.
My bang bang shrimp are going on a puffy taco.

Now, for a regular taco,
just take a flour tortilla and fry it in 350° - 375° oil.
If you hold it with tongs and bend it a bit,
you can get the taco shape.
But I want puffy tacos,
so that means the oil temp goes way up.
And by the way, I use peanut oil.

When the oil is really hot,
the tortilla will puff up, balloon-like.
If you have an extra hand,
spoon some of that hot oil over top.
My extra hand is holding a camera.

Remove from oil 
and let drain.

Now, for the shrimp.
The shrimp have been relaxing in a buttermilk bath
for about 20-30 minutes
while I got everything else ready.
Then, shakeshakeshake in the dry coating mixture
and place on a plate so they're ready to go into the hot oil.

You want a good amount of oil in the fry pot.
I use about 3 inches.
350° - 375°
Carefully place the shrimp in the hot oil.
Fry in batches.
About 6-8 shrimp at a time.
You want to maintain that oil temperature
to fry quickly.
All it takes is a minute.

Drain shrimp.

I made a coleslaw-like concoction -
cabbage, red pepper, red onion.
Placed the fried shrimp on top.
Then gave it a generous pour of the sauce.
Along with some chopped cilantro.

Those little white flowers are cilantro flowers.


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