Whole shrimp. With heads. And tentacles. All edible. I debated for a while about posting this recipe, which resulted in no blog updates for a week. It tasted fabulous, so much so that we made it twice in one week. But its appearance might be off-putting, possibly intimidating. The shrimp are meant to be eaten in their entirety. In fact, they taste best when eaten this way, since the salty-sweet pepper mixture coats the crunchy shell.
We brought a shrimp to our neighbor so he could try one. He took one look at it and declared us “adventurous eaters.” Hidden meaning: “No way I’m putting that thing in my mouth.” I never really thought of myself as an adventurous eater. I’m not as adventurous as my friend Julia, who has eaten donkey, tripe, live squid, and fried silk worms. Does eating shrimp legs and heads constitute as adventurous eating? The tyke loved the shrimp. Of course, he’ll eat just about anything that’s deep fried.
So here is my question for you readers: if presented with a plate of these succulent, fragrant shrimp, how much of them would you eat? Shell? Legs? Tail? Head?
adapted from a recipe by Luke Nguyen
- Place salt, pepper, and five spice powder in a hot pan over medium high heat.Dry roast for about 1 minute, stirring a few times.Remove from heat to a bowl, and let cool.Stir in sugar.Set aside.
- Place enough oil in a fryer or a dutch oven to reach a 3-inch depth.Heat oil to 300ºF.Place cornstarch in a large bowl.Dredge the shrimp in the cornstarch, shaking off excess.Place four shrimp in the hot oil and fry for 1 minute.Remove with a slotted spoon onto a cooling rack.Repeat with remaining shrimp.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbs of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.Add garlic, shallot, chile, and green onions.Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.Add shrimp, tossing to combine.Sprinkle salt and pepper mixture onto the shrimp as you toss, making sure to coat the shrimp well.Remove from heat and serve immediately.