I grew up eating Indo-Chinese food. Back in the days when I was a kid Chinese food in India meant Chili Chicken , Hakka noodles and Manchurian Prawns. If you were being a little ambitious then may be prawn crackers. We did not grow up with the concept of Chinese buffet something so popular here in America and the menu card had no more than 15-20 dishes with the variation of vegetarian , seafood and chicken dishes. Pork was still a taboo and except for the high-end restaurants , not many usually had them on the menu.
Since my formative years happened in Calcutta (yes I still like to call that ) Chinese food was synonymous with Tangra ( a small community of Chinese settled in the eastern end of the city in the early 19th century). Much as we loved their food and I do still to date, their dishes were restricted to a combination of 3-4 ingredients and in those days I love it.
It was not until my student days in London, did I really taste authentic chinese food cooked by Chinese who came from China and weren’t 2nd or 3rd generation Chinese settled in UK. Some of my college mates came from Kunming (Yunan Province ) and Chengdu ( Sichuan Province) and this particular recipe was picked up from Den Xiang ( my college mate) whose grandmother known as Mama Chiang would make for him. This is an authentic Sichuan recipe that comes from the heartland of China and very different from what I grew up eating. But different is good and different is lip-smacking that now it is a regular in my household.
Mama Chiang’s Shrimp in Chili Garlic Oil
- Shrimp- 1lb (450 gms) -15-20 jumbo shrimp. You can use large or even medium ones
- Garlic-5-6 fat cloves chopped finely
- Chili oil- 2-3 table spoon
- veg oil – 1 table spoon
For the sauce
- Soysauce- 3 table-spoon
- Sesame oil-1 teaspoon
- Shao Xing wine- 1.5 teaspoon
- Chili paste- 2 table-spoon
- Brown sugar-1 teaspoon
- Scallion – green part –
- Sichuan pepper corn 7-8 roughly ground
- Start with peeling andcleaning the shrimp. You may leave the tail on if you wish to. Next wash them thoroughly and marinade them with salt and pepper and leave it for about 15 mins.
- Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients under sauce except for the salt, pepper and sichuan pepper corn and scallion.
- Now finely chop the garlic cloves . Set the wok to heat with the veg oil and chili oil and once the oil is hot enough add the garlic and let it flavour the oil.
- Now add the salted shrimp and let it cook, till it turn pink.
- Next add the sauce mixture and bring it to boil and add the sichuan pepper corn . Transfer to a serving dish and finish it off with scallions.
- I like my shrimp liquidy with a bit of chili oil floating around them. In case you like it slightly more saucy and sticking to the shrimp then you can mix 1 teaspoon of corn startch it with cold water and add it to the shrimp when it is brought to boil with the sauce.