Wuxi dishes have a fresh taste, with moderate saltiness and sweetness, which is thick without being greasy, and light without being thin. Meanwhile these dishes place an emphasis on the making of soup and retaining the original taste of the ingredients.
Today, we would like to introduce you to a dish which not only retains the original taste of the ingredients, but also is a very quick and easy one. It’s called Jiangsu-Style Poached Shrimp.
This dish is known to be specific to Wuxi as the main ingredient is the white shrimp. White shrimp is one of the “Three Whites”, others being whitebait and white fish. “Three Whites” are widely available in Lake Tai. A wide variety of freshwater produce in the lake is available. If white shrimp is not available in the local market, it can be replaced with other fresh shrimps.
The way to cook Jiangsu-Style Poached Shrimp is similar to other styles of poached shrimp, such as the Thai style. However, what is special about the Jiangsu-style is that you don’t need to prepare cocktail sauce for dipping, because the flavour of the shrimp itself is enough.
Let’s get started by preparing the following ingredients
Put the water, hot peppers, Chinese anise, ginger, white parts of green onions, and rice wine into a saucepan over medium high heat. The key to this simple dish is to retain the original taste of the shrimp, so don’t add too much hot pepper. The purpose of adding rice wine is to remove the fishy smell. Alternatively use other alcohol or vinegars or citric juice. Add cooking wine and salt. Cook for a few minutes to build the flavours, but no hotter than 70 degrees Celsius (160 Fahrenheit). As shrimp is delicate in texture and flavour, poaching is more appropriate than boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shrimps. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 seconds or until the shrimps are bright pink and the tails curl. If you choose prawns over shrimps, simmer them for longer, around 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Leave for a few minutes for moist, tender-crisp shrimp with loads of flavor. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimps. Serve them in a plate with a few pieces of hot pepper.
Although Jiangsu-Style Poached Shrimp is very quick and easy to prepare, each step, from poaching, to adding rice wine, and the right amount of hot peppers, is well thought out for one simple reason – to retain the freshness and the original taste of the shrimps.