What’s better than chilli in winter? Japanese-style Szechuan Shrimp in Chili sauce!
Though the winter here has not been especially chilly, a nice spicy dinner is most welcome!
This recipe can be made quickly, and with only a little planning, it’s a pantry meal. We often have shrimp in the freezer, and the main seasonings are ginger, garlic, and toban jan.
Oh, you say, “Toban jan (alternate spelling: toban jiang), is not a staple in my refrigerator.”
I say it should be there waiting for when you want just a bit of spice. It keeps a long time, and it’s easy to add to all sorts of recipes, not only in Japanese Chinese-style recipes. Add a teaspoon to barbeque sauce for chicken or pork on your grill, or add a drop to pizza sauce for a nice subtle kick, add it to the usually bland macaroni and cheese, or use it instead of Tabasco on your shrimp and grits. Which now brings us back to today’s recipe for ebi chirri.
And also note that I served this meal with purchased okra pickles—popular in the U.S. South as are the macaroni ‘n’ cheese (which is considered a vegetable side!) and the shrimp and grits. If you see them, snap them up: delicious!
Shrimp in Chili Sauce
Peeling and Cleaning the Shrimp
- 12 shrimp (½ pound)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon potato starch
- A sprinkle of Water
Remove tails and peel the shrimp. Make a slit in the back of each to remove the sand veins. Mix the shrimp with your hands in the above ingredients to clean them. Rinse well, drain and dry.
Seasoning the Shrimp
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- A pinch of pepper
- 1 teaspoon saké
- 1 Tablespoon egg white
- 1 Tablespoon potato starch
- Note: I added a half pound of tofu cut into ¾-inch cubes
Place the shrimp in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add sake and egg white and mix well. Cover the shrimp with katakuriko starch. Let them rest for a few minutes.
The Chili Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1½ Tablespoon minced ginger
- 1½ Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Toban jan (Japanese chili bean sauce)
- 2 Tablespoons ketchup
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon saké
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 6 green onions, sliced into rings
- potato starch dissolved in Water
- (1 Tablespoon potato starch mixed with 2 Tablespoons water)
- 1 tsp Vinegar
Heat a large skillet or a wok and add 2 Tbsp of oil. When the oil is hot, stir-fry shrimp on high heat until it changes color. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set aside. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in the skillet and stir-fry ginger, garlic, and hot bean paste on low heat until the oil becomes red. Add chicken broth, saké, sugar, and ketchup. Bring to a simmer on high heat. Lower the heat, then put shrimp into the sauce. Simmer for about 30 seconds and add chopped negi. Pour in the mixture of water and katakuriko starch and stir quickly to thicken the sauce. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle on the vinegar.
And now for some history and drama about this dish in Japan:
Chen Kenmin is the Japanese chef credited with introducing the Japanese to Szechuan Chinese cuisine. Born in Yibin, Sichuan, China, Chen emigrated to Japan in 1952, and became a Japanese citizen in 1954. Chen had originally specialized in Chinese imperial cuisine. However in 1958, upon opening the Shisen Hanten (四川飯店?) Restaurant in Japan, Chen arranged his dishes to cater to the tastes of his Japanese clients.
Chen Kenichi is the son of Chen Kenmin. He is the only television Iron Chef to have held his position throughout the life of the the Japanese program.