I make this dish all the time with soft shell crabs, and now is the season, my friends. For the crab version, I skip the salt rub and simply cut my crabs in half before dipping in the egg white. The sauce came to me from my pal Vikram, who uses it all the time on all manners of fried seafood in his house in Bangalore. Whether you make this recipe with shrimp or soft shells, you’ll love it.
Wok-Tossed, Twice-Cooked, Crispy Salt and Pepper Prawns . . . Fu Xian Style
2 lb. U–15 shrimp . . . I buy ocean-caught Mexican or Ecuadorean
3 T. kosher salt
3 egg whites
1 c. corn starch, seasoned with sea salt and white pepper
4 c. peanut oil
2 T. oil reserved from the 4 c.
12 scallions, cut in 2-inch lengths
1 T. sea salt
1 t. black pepper
2 T. sugar
5 dried red chiles
Peel and butterfly shrimp, leaving tail attached. Toss with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Press in a dry towel to remove moisture.
Heat peanut oil to 375 over high heat in a wok. Dip shrimp in egg whites, then dredge in corn starch. Fry to crisp in 2 batches.
Tip off the oil, leaving 2 T. behind, and increase the heat. When smoking, add the scallions, chiles, and shrimp. Toss to coat, adding the salt, pepper, and sugar as you rotate the food across the wok surface.
Toss and serve . . . the sauces below makes nice partners. Serves 4–6 persons.
Fu-Xian Dipping Sauce for Fried Seafood
1/2 c. thinly shaved shallots
1/4 c. thinly sliced red and green hot chiles . . . I like to use 2 red
jalapenos, 4 serranos, and a piece of a habanero to round out the
heat. You can also use small red and green Thai chiles.
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. chicken stock
3 T. Chinese rice wine or sake
3 T. sugar
2 T. minced ginger
3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
Combine and use immediately.