Book review, author Q&A, and salt and pepper shrimp
Ann Mah's novel, 'Kitchen Chinese: A Novel About Food, Family and Finding Yourself' celebrates life changes, Chinese culture, and most importantly, regional Chinese dishes. This special blog post contains an interview with the author, and one of her favorite recipes.
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This question is to satisfy my personal curiosity. I like that you left Charlie and Isabelle’s relationship open-ended. I get annoyed when authors feel they have to give their characters a happy-ever-after ending. Was this intentional?Skip to next paragraph
Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Patricia Tanumihardja writes about food, travel, and lifestyle through a multicultural lens and has been published in numerous national and regional publications. Pat is also the creator of the “Asian Ingredients 101” iPhone and Android app, a glossary on-the-go that’s the perfect companion on a trip to the Asian market. Her first book, The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens, will be available in paperback in September 2012.
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Ha ha – well, yes, I wanted Charlie and Isabelle to have a chance to be together, but who knows what happens to them in the end? I like to think Isabelle stays in China for a good long while, unlike me. Maybe she is my döppelganger in that sense.
Salt and Pepper Shrimp (Salad)
Ann learned to make this dish from her dad. She usually serves the shrimp as a salad with arugula or mixed greens tossed in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sesame oil. I adapted the recipe a little, tweaking amounts as well substituting pine nuts for red bell pepper. I also chose to serve the shrimp as a main course on an undressed bed of shredded red lettuce.
Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 2 to 3 servings as part of a multicourse family meal
1/2 pound shrimp (about 20 31/40 shrimp), peeled, cleaned, and patted dry (*preferably fresh because frozen shrimp contains salt, and you may have to alter the amount of salt you use)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt-pepper-sugar mixture (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 plump garlic clove, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced (about 1-1/2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine
Bed of shredded lettuce or mixed greens for serving
In a small bowl, toss the shrimp with the salt-pepper-sugar mixture and cornstarch until well coated.
Preheat a wok or large skillet. Swirl in the oil and heat over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink (1 to 2 minutes on either side). Add the garlic, green onions, and red pepper and stir and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Drizzle in just enough sherry to create a sauce that barely coats the prawns. Remove from the heat.
Place the shrimp on the bed of greens and serve with rice.
This is a master batch for your spice cabinet (about 6 batches). You can increase the quantities to make more and store it in a bottle. I used white pepper from the Asian store which in my opinion is spicier than black pepper. Feel free to adjust the ratio according to taste.
2 tablespoons ground black pepper or white pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine all the seasonings in a small bottle or jar. Shake well and store for up to a month.
Related post on The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Deconstructing Take Out: Make Honey Walnut Shrimp at Home
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