Xihongshi Jiang Xia
(Chinese stir-fried shrimp in tomato sauce)
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While ketchup may seem a surprising ingredient in Chinese food, it really is used in this dish and produces a very tasty and quite lovely sauce for stir-fried shrimp. Purists may scoff, however, and if you like you can substitute tomato sauce or tomato paste.
4 to 6 servings
- Shrimp, peeled and deveined -- 1 pound
- Stock or water -- 1/2 cup
- Ketchup -- 2 tablespoons
- Soy sauce -- 1 tablespoon
- Sugar -- 2 teaspoons
- Rice wine or dry sherry (optional) -- 2 teaspoons
- Cornstarch -- 1 tablespoon
- Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon
- Peanut or vegetable oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Scallions, chopped into 1-inch pieces -- 3 or 4
- Garlic, minced -- 2 or 3 cloves
- Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped -- 2 or 3
- Mix the stock or water, ketchup, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, cornstarch and salt together in a bowl. Taste for a balance of sweet, sour and salty and adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside.
- Heat the oil over high flame in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot. Add the scallions and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Then add the garlic and stir fry until garlic just starts to brown, another 30 seconds or so.
- Stir in the tomatoes, reduce heat to low and simmer for another 1 or 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp and simmer for another 2 or 3 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through.
- Give the sauce a big swish to mix in the cornstarch and pour it all at once into the simmering shrimp and tomatoes. Stir well and bring to a slow boil to thicken the sauce. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Shrimp with Tomato Sauce Variations
- Any firm white fish, squid or scallops may be substituted for the shrimp. Marinate with a little soy sauce, rice wine and a pinch of salt first if you like.
- To give the shrimp a nice coating that will soak up the sauce, toss it first with a mixture of 1 egg white, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well and deep fry the shrimp until done. Set aside and add the fried shrimp to the recipe after you have simmered the sauce to thicken it.
- For a spicier dish, stir in some red pepper flakes or 1 or 2 teaspoons of hot bean paste.