It was while living in an apartment at Rutgers University that Stuart Chang Berman ate one too many hamburgers. So he did what any self-respecting graduate student would do: He called home.
His mother, Aline, a longtime Washington restaurateur, "sent me two recipes for Chinese food." Before long, with tutoring from his mother and his grandmother and some experimenting on his own, Berman developed a repertoire that made him popular with other hamburger-weary students.
Berman, 47, of Silver Spring, went on to become a chef and join his mother in owning restaurants. He is a cooking instructor and writer in addition to being a federal probation officer.
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
- 1 teaspoon finely minced serrano chili peppers (may substitute jalapeño or Asian peppers)
- 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root
- 1 teaspoon dry sherry
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions, white and green parts, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, or to taste
Rinse the shrimp under cold water in a colander. Drain well. Use a paper towel to pat them dry.
Transfer the shrimp to a medium bowl and toss with the cornstarch, lightly coating the shrimp.
In a large pan over high heat, heat 2 cups of the oil to 350 degrees or until the oil is shimmering. Cook the shrimp in 2 batches until their cornstarch coating is crisp, about 2 to 4 minutes for each batch. Using a wide slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to drain on paper towels and set aside.
In a separate large skillet or wok over high heat, add one tablespoon of the oil and swirl it to coat the bottom of the skillet or sides of the wok. Heat the oil until it is smoking. Add the garlic, chili peppers and ginger and stir for 10 seconds. Add the shrimp and stir for another 15 seconds. Add the sherry and scallions and stir for another 10 seconds, then turn off the heat.
Sprinkle the shrimp with the salt to taste. Toss once and serve hot.
This recipe is based on one of the recipes Stuart Chang Berman's mother sent him. Adapted from his book, "Potsticker Chronicles" (Wiley, 2004).
Tested by Shaune Hayes.
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