Here you have a tradeoff that comes with time-saving shortcuts: The broth of this clean-tasting slurp of a light dinner soup lacks deep flavor, yet it is brightened by a few minutes' infusion of fresh ginger and dashes of fish sauce and sesame oil.
You might find that cooking shrimp this way is beneficial when you make shrimp salad or want to cook shrimp for frittata or quick tacos. Remember to freeze the shells (for a great homemade seafood stock) in heavy-duty plastic bags.
If you start with raw shrimp that's already peeled and deveined, you'll have more time to concentrate on making dessert.
Serve with a simple salad of sliced avocado dressed with lemon vinaigrette and toasted panko bread crumbs.
Servings: 2 - 3
- 1 pound raw, shell-on jumbo (16-20 count) shrimp
- 1 small red chili pepper, such as a ripe jalapeno
- 2 scallions
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 1/2-inch piece ginger root
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh mung bean sprouts
- 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1/3 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves (may substitute Thai basil leaves)
- 4 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce, or to taste, for garnish
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, for garnish
Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
Meanwhile, peel, devein and lightly rinse the shrimp. Stem and seed the red chili pepper, then cut it crosswise into very thin slices. Trim the scallions, then cut the white and light-green parts into thin slices. Mince the garlic. Peel the ginger, then cut it into wide slices or slivers.
Reduce the heat to low, add the shrimp and cook uncovered for 1 or 2 minutes, until they are just barely opaque.
Place the bean sprouts in a large colander. Carefully pour the shrimp and their cooking water over the sprouts (discarding the water), then transfer the sprouts and shrimp to individual serving bowls. Scatter the cilantro, parsley, scallions, garlic and the chili pepper (to taste) over each portion.
Heat the broth and ginger in the same pot (no need to rinse it out). Bring just to a boil over high heat. Pour over the shrimp-and-sprout mixture. Drizzle with the fish sauce and toasted sesame oil. Serve right away.
Adapted from "The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food From Around the World," by Linda Lau Anusasananan (University of California Press, 2012).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.