Salt and pepper shrimp is a dish in the same family as Salt and Pepper Pork Chops and Salt and Pepper Squid; they are all crowd pleasers. Crispy, salty, slightly spicy…what’s not to like? You’re definitely going to get a bunch of oooh’s and ahhh’s at the table when salt and pepper shrimp is being served.
Before we start, I want to clarify something about the “pepper” in “Salt and Pepper Shrimp.” When I search for “salt and pepper (椒盐)” on Chinese cooking sites, the pepper element used most in China seems to be Sichuan peppercorns, but for recipes like Salt and Pepper Pork Chops that you order from a Cantonese restaurant, the pepper used is usually white pepper.
I’ve come to the conclusion that anything works: white pepper, black pepper, Sichuan peppercorns, or a combination. Whatever strikes your fancy, or whatever you happen to have in your spice cabinet.
The salt and pepper mixture is toasted to give it more flavor and fragrance, and it’s very easy to make. You can even prepare it in bulk, transfer to jars, and give them out as gifts like people do with jams and pickles. The ratio is usually 2:1 pepper to salt. I strongly suggest you use sea salt for this recipe; it has better flavor.
For my daughter and me, lunch at a Chinese restaurant often means an order of salt and pepper shrimp with bowls of fluffy white rice. Crisp and bold with peppers, this dish is definitely a delicious foray into Chinese take-out. Try the quick and easy recipe at home tonight and let me know what you think.
Salt and Pepper Shrimp
- 2 pounds large shrimp head-on and shell-on
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- oil for deep-frying
- 2 jalapenos cut into thin slices
- 2 green onions ends trimmed and chopped
Trim tendrils off shrimp and rinse under cold running water. In a bowl, combine shrimp and garlic salt. Marinate for about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain shrimp and pat dry.
In a bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, pepper and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Dredge shrimp in cornstarch mixture until coated.
In a wide, deep pan over medium heat, heat about 2-inches oil to about 350 F. Add shrimps in batches and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp and color changes. Remove from pan and drain on a colander. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the frying oil.
In a wide skillet over high heat, add the 2 tablespoons reserved oil and heat until smoking hot. Add remaining jalapenos, green onions and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 30 seconds. Add deep-fried shrimps and toss for about 30-40 seconds. Serve hot.