An interesting movement, as far as food consumption is concerned, began during the Ching dynasty (1644-1911). Corporate organizations flourished, from the lowest levels (poor family groups) to the more powerful levels (merchants and officials), whose members lived in Beijing (Peking), far from their native places. In their own meeting places, they pooled their resources and could dine on their own regional foods, thus preserving local customs and tastes. In this way, the capital became a melting pot of many regional dishes that later became known as Imperial Cuisine.
Kung Po Shrimp was probably one such dish, with characteristics closely allied to the cuisines of the eastern Provinces of Jiangsu (Kiangsu) and Zhejiang (Chekiang).

ingredients

  • 12 ounces fresh uncooked jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Cold water
  • 3 cups peanut oil, for deep-frying
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into wedges
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 dried chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons finely sliced fresh ginger
  • For Seasonings:
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water for thickening

directions

Wash the shrimp thoroughly under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place the shrimp in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and the peanut oil and set aside to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.

Combine the self-rising flour and cornstarch. Sprinkle the mixture over the shrimp and toss through to coat. Sprinkle on a little cold water to create a light batter, and mix quickly to combine.

Heat a wok, add the peanut oil and bring to a high heat until the oil is simmering. Reduce the heat to moderate, and deep-fry the shrimp for 3-4 minutes, gently stirring with chopsticks to separate and cook evenly. During the last few seconds of cooking, add the bell peppers and onion and cook for about 5 seconds. Remove all of the ingredients with a strainer and set aside on a plate.

Pour off most of the oil, leaving a good film of oil behind to coat the wok. Add the chili, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a few seconds; then add all of the seasonings ingredients. Stir in the cornstarch thickening and cook until velvety.

TO SERVE: Return the shrimp and the vegetables to the wok, toss quickly in the sauce and serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

RecID 2584

nutrition information per serving

316 calories; 18g total fat; 101mg cholesterol; 1244mg sodium; 25g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 13g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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