By jove, she cooks!
That’s the thought that enters my mind whenever I can tear myself away from the baking books long enough to cook something. To tell you honestly, I’m a bigger fan of eating “real” food compared to pastries and sweets, however for one reason or another, I like the act of baking a lot more. I’m guessing that’s about to change, now that I’ve gotten started with the cooking part with the help of Ms. Bee Yin Low!
The first cooking recipe I featured here (which was amazing by the way!) was from her Rasa Malaysia blog, the Asian cuisine blog I surf and bookmark the heck out of. So when I found out Ms. Bee was going to come out with a cookbook, no hesitation even entered my mind. I immediately pre-ordered it, and as expected I was not disappointed.
I’ve made it a mission to cook every single thing in here, and to absorb it into my personal repertoire of recipes that I will more than happily cook for my family on a regular basis. We are really big on Asian food here, and it’s not just because I am Asian, but in my opinion, Asian food is truly one of the best and most varied in the world. I’ve been working on collecting as many Asian recipes and cookbooks that have a focus on them as I can, so if any of you have suggestions that are not on my wishlist, please do leave the title and author at the comments section below!
Anyway, as I mentioned, although I want to cook everything in Ms. Bee’s cookbook, I won’t necessarily be sharing all of the recipes here. Some perhaps, but I will most probably write about my experiences on eating and preparing the dishes, coupled with a photo or two of the finished product. That’s just my little way of promoting a book that deserves as much attention as it can be given.
My Mother was the one who read this book before me, and she absolutely loved how there were some tips and pointers at the beginning of the book. Even she, who is a fairly experienced cook, learned a lot of new things. Much of the book is similar to her blog: the layout is fairly simple to give focus on the recipe itself; the introductions are fun anecdotes to lead in to the recipe. The book may look thin, but it is packed with lots of recipes, all familiar favourites featured in Chinese restaurants. This book will help you replicate, if not completely beat, those dishes.
My family likes to eat out once almost every week, and more often than not, we end up in Chinese restaurants anyway. Now my brothers always ask for this particular dish, the Shrimp Salad, and I think I’ve had my fill of a ton of possible variations of this dish from all the restaurants I’ve eaten in all my life. They range from being too dry to overly wet from being mixed in with fruit cocktail. The shrimp is sometimes too overpowered by the flavor of the mayonnaise dressing, and sometimes they are so oily that they create this uncomfortable feeling in your mouth.
Enter this dish. The dish that I watched my brothers basically shovel down with every mouthful of rice.
I absolutely how the shrimp is deep-fried shortly to perfection, making it wonderfully crunchy. It is not so overly plastered with flour that you can practically eat the coating and the shrimp separately, which is a common problem I find with fried shrimp dishes like this one.
The dressing is the right amount of sweet and salty, and there is not much of that awful mayonnaise aftertaste which I hate (because I don’t like mayonnaise). Plus the candied nuts add texture and sweetness to the dish.
Honey Walnut Shrimp
To prepare the shrimp
- 250 grams shelled and deveined medium-sized raw shrimp
- 1 tablespoon egg white
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 70 grams 1/2 cup cornstarch
- oil, for frying
For the Walnut Glaze
- 50 grams 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 65 milliliters 1/4 cup water
- 50 grams 1/4 cup sugar
For the dressing
- 1/2 tablespoon condensed milk
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Prepare the shrimp
- 1. Pat dry the shrimp with paper towels and marinate the shrimp with the egg white and salt, about 30 minutes.
Make the Walnut Glaze
- 2. Rinse the walnut halves with cold water, drain, then set aside. *
- 3. Bring the water to a boil and add in the sugar. Keep stirring until the glaze thickens.
- 4. Lower the heat to medium and add in the walnut halves. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes golden brown or caramel in color. Transfer the walnuts onto wax paper or parchment paper to dry.**
- 5. Make the dressing: Mix all dressing ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
Prepare to cook
- 6. Dust the marinated shrimp with the cornstarch evenly, remembering to shake off the excess.
- 7. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a wok or stockpot to 350°F (180°C) for deep-frying. Gently drop the shrimp in the hot oil, and deep-fry them to a light brown.
- 8. Once fried, dish out the shrimp with a strainer or slotted-spoon, draining excess oil by laying the shrimp onto a bowl lined with paper towels. The oil can be discarded or used in another recipe.
- 9. Combine the shrimp with the Dressing and toss well. Transfer the shrimp to a serving plate and garnish with candied walnuts. Serve immediately with a bowl of hot rice.
** Regular paper towels will not work because the walnuts will only stick to it as it dries. Adapted from Easy Chinese Recipes by Bee Yin Low