Stir Fried Ketchup Shrimp 茄汁蝦碌. Today’s recipe may raise a few eyebrows! Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in a Chinese recipe have I gone crazy? And is it shrimp or prawns? Well, the name really does just depend on where you come from. Shrimp and prawn is pretty interchangeable. As to the ketchup trust me this is one of the simplest and tastiest ways, I know of serving prawns. It is a hugely popular dish in Hong Kong. Worcestershire Sauce was introduced into Hong Kong by the British and is now used in a lot of local dishes. The result is a tangy slightly salty, sweet and sour, sticky plate of delicious seafood that is great in a Chinese feast.
A bit of Ketchup History
Did you know that word Ketchup is in fact thought to derive from the Chinese dialect? It refers to a fermented fish sauce made as early as 300 BC. It is thought that variants of the fish sauce were transported half way around the world by Dutch and English traders visiting China in search of tea, silk and porcelain. Slowly the fish was replaced and the eighteen hundreds there are documented recipes for walnut and mushroom ketchups. In Jane Austen’s household records there is a recipe for walnut ketchup. By the nineteenth century tomatoes were being added. However, it was America that the addition of large amounts of sugar and vinegar to help preserve the ketchup, gave us the recipe we know today. Americans today are estimated to consume around five litres of tomato ketchup per year.
If you enjoy this recipe why not try……
The most famous ‘Red cooking’ recipe is Shanghai Red-braised Pork Belly. ‘Hong Shao Rou’ isreputed to be the favourite of Chairman Mao Tse-tung. So much so he supposedly he ate it every day. In China belly pork is a highly valued cut of meat. The perfect order of fat, meat, fat and meat under the skin is known as the ‘Five layers of Heaven’.
Preparing your Shrimp
You can use large, peeled shrimp but I prefer those in the shell. I think they make a much better visual impact and the shells seen to hold the sauce better. It’s so much fun peeling the shrimp and licking your fingers. You can remove the head, but I like to just trim the antennae and leave them on. I’m one of those people you see energetically sucking the sauce and yumminess out of the head. If you prefer peeled shrimp or prawns just remember they will cook quicker.
The one thing you will need to do if you leave the shells on is remove the black vein running down the back of your shrimp. Here is my top tip, you will need a small metal skewer. Slide the point under the vein in between any point where two layers of shell overlap. Once it is under the vein very gently pull it up and the whole vein should slowly come out. Wipe your skewer on a piece of kitchen paper and repeat until all of the shrimps are deveined. You can find de-veined shell-on shrimp in larger supermarkets and peeled shrimp should have the vein removed already.
Stir Fried Ketchup Shrimp 茄汁蝦碌
- 1 Wok
- 12 large fresh Shell-on Shrimp
- 2 Spring Onions washed and trimmed
- 1 large piece Stem Ginger finely grated
- 3 cloves Garlic peeled and very finely sliced
- 1 small Red Chilli very finely sliced
- 3 tablespoons Tomato Ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Rice Wine
- 1 tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce
- ½ tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- A pinch of Caster Sugar
- 50 ml Vegetable Oil
- Heat half the vegetable oil in your wok until it just starts to smoke.
- Add the shrimp and fry for thirty seconds on each side so the shells are starting to colour.
- Turn the heat down and add the remaining oil and the garlic, toss in the hot wok for thirty seconds before adding the ginger.
- Give the wok a couple of flicks or stir then add the ketchup, soy, rice wine, sugar and soy sauce.
- Increase the heat until the sauce starts to bubble and reduces slightly and the shrimp is cooked. Stir constantly to prevent sticking and burning.
- Cut the spring onions into short, very thin strips.
- Plate up the shrimp and garnish with spring onions and chilli slices.
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