The romantic name of this stunning dish was originated from Hong Kong’s boat people or fishermen. The sweetness of the shellfish contrasts beautifully with a crunchy layer of garlic, bread crumbs studded with chillies and black beans. This dish does not even have to involve shrimp. Vegetarians could use deep-dried bean curd – it would still be fantastic because the element that you truly appreciate is not necessarily the protein but the brittle, spicy, garlic-laden blanket.
- 600g shrimp with the shell on, deveined
- ¼ cup corn flour玉米淀粉
The crunchy stuff
- 1 cup coarsely cut garlic, minced蒜末
- 2 cups cooking oil
- 1 cup bread crumbs (Japanese panko)面包糠
- 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, minced豆豉
- 1 or more hot green pepper, minced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons spring onions, minced， 香葱末
- 1 tablespoon dried red chili, roughly chopped干红辣椒
- ½ teaspoon to taste salt
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar白糖
- 2 spring onion for garnish(optional), cut into 5-cm length
- Clean and devein the shrimp. Pat dry with kitchen towel. Place them in a bowl. Toss the shrimp with the corn flour and mix well.
- Chop the garlic. Place it in a bowl and cover it with cool tap water. Rinse the garlic thoroughly in a fine sieve and dump it out onto a couple of sheets of kitchen towel to dry completely. This process helps reduce the overwhelming flavour of the large amount of the garlic which is required for the recipe. It also helps get rid of the stickiness that makes the garlic clump together.
- Set a drying pan over high heat and pour in the oil. Add the chopped garlic. When the oil starts bubbles around the edge of the pan, reduce the heat to low to medium-low, and stir often so the garlic browns evenly. Don’t rush this step, since gently fried garlic is the most important component in this dish. When the garlic turns a pale brown and floats to the surface – which means all of the juices have transferred from the garlic into oil, making the garlic nice and crunchy when it has cooled – empty the garlic and oil into the sieve. You will be left with about ½ cup of fried garlic. Shake the oil off so that the garlic drains completely and turns crispy. Place the garlic in a bowl. Set aside. Transfer the garlic oil into a separate bowl. Save it for later use.
- Now, let’s brown the bread crumbs. Place a clean pan over high heat. When the pan gets hot, add the bread crumb. Turn to medium-low heat. Use a spatula and push around the bread crumbs so they brown evenly. Turn off the heat when it becomes golden. This takes about 4-5 minutes. Transfer it into a clean and dry bowl.
- Next, cook the seasoning ingredients. Place 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add black beans, green pepper, dried chilies, Fry for a few minutes until aromatic. Transfer it out into a small bowl. Set aside.
- Immediately rinse and dry the frying pan. Place it over high heat and then add ¼ cup of the garlic oil. When the oil becomes very hot, add into the shrimp. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. (I would split the shrimp and fry two batches.) Then dump into fried garlic, bread crumbs and cooked seasoning ingredients. Add ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Quickly toss everything together to combine. Then immediately plate on a large serving platter.
1. When you fry garlic, don’t overdo it. Garlic quickly turns from aromatic to acrid in hot oil., so fry it over a low temperature until it is a light golden brown, then scoop it out with a fine sieve and let it cool down in a wide work bowl. It will continue to cook in the residual heat.
2. Home kitchen stove does not produce heat as high as the commercial kitchen. So it is important to cook batches. I would split 600g shrimp and cook two batches.