DIANA’S STIR-FRY SHRIMP WITH SCALLIONS
“I’d rather eat out. You can’t hang a meal on a wall and have it last and last like any old delicious painting.” Diana Chang
1 pound fresh shrimp
1 knob fresh ginger
2 bunches fresh scallions
soy sauce (about 1/3 cup)
Sherry (about 1/3 cup)
dried Chinese mushrooms (4 to 5, optional)
fresh bean curd (half of a 1 pound package, optional)
garlic (about 2 cloves, peeled and sliced, optional)
- Clean shrimp. Either leave the shells on (removing only the legs) or strip them completely. Drain thoroughly. If you remove the shells, slice the shrimp in half lengthwise. This makes getting rid of the veins effortless. It also not only curls the cooked half shrimp in a delicate way the Chinese appreciate but makes it possible for the flavor of the sauce to penetrate through and through. (By the way, do not buy jumbo sized anything when cooking Chinese!)
- Slice a knob of fresh ginger and two bunches of scallions. Use the whole green leaf of the scallion. Slice everything on the bias for appearance, texture and panache. Stir fry the scallions in a little bit of peanut oil until almost done. Remove from pan or wok. If you like garlic, add a clove or two, sliced.
- Add a mixture of soy sauce and Sherry, keeping in mind you want enough delectable sauce to moisten not only the shrimp but the rice that will accompany them. If you have a heavy vintage soy sauce from Chinatown, use it sparingly. Some soya bean curd (jouncy when fresh), sliced, can be added at the same time you throw in the already cooked scallions. If you want Chinese mushrooms, soak them, drain them, cook with scallions and add at end. All you need are 3 to 4 good-sized mushrooms for their smoky and insistent flavor. Transfer scallion mixture to a bowl.
- Add a little more oil to the wok and, when it is hot, toss in the drained shrimp. Stir the shrimp gently until they turn pink. Do not overcook. (Be sure shrimp are thoroughly dry unless you want explosions of sizzling grease.) The shrimp should be juicy, not dry, opaque, not rubbery.
- Return scallion mixture and combine with shrimp, stir fry for 1-2 minutes. This dish takes about 12 minutes to cook and not much longer to consume. The combination of ginger, scallions, soy sauce and Sherry can be added to chicken, pork, beef or fish to make any of these into elementary Chinese dishes.
adapted from Diana Chang, printed in Palette to Palate, the Hamptons Artists Cookbook