I wanted to reproduce the Shrimp with Garlic Sauce served at Taiwan restaurant in San Francisco’s Richmond district. This is pretty close, and probably better. Feel free to add more liquid to stretch out the delicious hot/sweet/sour gravy. Serves 3-4.
Ingredients, for shrimp:
1 lb or more raw shrimp, preferably unpeeled
1 ½ t toasted sesame oil
1 large egg white
3 T soy sauce
scant ½ c cornstarch
Oil for frying
Ingredients, for gravy:
3 T rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
3 T sugar
3 T soy sauce
3 T Xiaoxing wine or dry sherry, or 1 T brandy
Generous squirt of Srirachi chili sauce (about ½ t plus)
½ t toasted sesame oil
1 T cornstarch
1 ½ T water
2 T oil, for sautéing the garlic
Garlic, peeled and sliced, about 6 large cloves (1/4 c)
Shrimp broth, water, or chicken stock
¼ c chopped scallions, including green parts
2 T finely grated ginger
Method: Peel the shrimp and make a stock with their shells and about ½ c water simmered over very low heat for 15 minutes. Thoroughly combine 1 ½ t toasted sesame oil, beaten egg white, soy sauce and cornstarch; add a few drops of water if necessary to moisten the cornstarch. Add the shrimp to this marinade, mix until evenly coated, and allow to rest 20 minutes while you make the gravy.
Saute the sliced garlic in 2 T oil until it just begins to give off aroma. Add vinegar, sugar, wine, chili sauce and sesame oil; mix and heat. Separately, thoroughly mix 1T cornstarch and 1 ½ t water then add to the gravy. Stir over low heat to thicken. Add as much shrimp stock as you like (or water or chicken stock if you don’t have shrimp stock) to stretch out the delicious sauce so long as it doesn’t lose its gravy texture; if you go too far mix a little more cornstarch and water and stir that in. When gravy is to your satisfaction, add grated ginger and scallion and turn off heat.
Fry the shrimp in ½ inch of about 375 degree oil in a fry pan (or make small batches in a wok) about 2 minutes until brown and crispy; turn and repeat. Drain on paper towel, mix into gravy, serve over white rice, inhale the deliciousness.