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Plumped Ginger-Caramel Shrimp


from How to Eat Supper

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Rate this recipe 4.6/5 (5 Votes)


  • 1/2 cup kosher or sea salt (not iodized)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup medium-hot chile powder
  • 2 quarts warm water
  • 1 1/2 pounds large frozen shrimp (in or out of their shells; organic if possible)
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • One 4-inch piece fresh peeled ginger
  • 4 tablespoons expeller-pressed or cold-pressed canola oil or other mild oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • 4 teaspoons sugar



Step 1

In a medium stainless or glass bowl, blend the salt, sugar, and chile powder in the warm water. Drop in the shrimp, and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes while you set up the rest of the meal.
Drain the shrimp, peel off their shells if necessary, and pat the shrimp dry.
Chop the garlic and ginger together into 1/8-inch pieces. Heat the oil in a straight-sided 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic/ginger mixture, the pepper, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spatula. Blend in the sugar and keep stirring until the garlic is pale gold. Do not let the pieces get dark brown.
Immediately drop in the shrimp and stir for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are turning pink and are barely firm. Turn the shrimp into a serving bowl. Taste them for seasoning, adjust as necessary, and serve hot or warm.
Shrimp Stir-Fry with Chickpeas and Greens
Follow the instructions for brining, peeling, and drying the shrimp as directed above.
Substitute for the garlic and ginger: 1 medium onion, 2 yellow bell peppers, 2 seeded jalapeño or serrano chiles, and 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives. Chop together into 1/4-inch pieces.
Using 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil instead of the canola oil, stir-fry the shrimp. When just firm, spoon them from the pan to a large serving bowl.
Swirl a little more olive oil into the pan, add a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas, the chopped onion mixture, and a couple handfuls of salad greens. Stir-fry over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, seasoning the vegetables to taste as you cook.
Once they are tender-crisp, add the vegetables to the shrimp and serve. This is excellent over No-Cook Whole-Wheat Couscous or tossed with pasta.
Frozen shrimp are called for as a convenience. Certainly you could use fresh or thawed. If you do, use ice-cold water instead of warm and marinate the shrimp in the refrigerator.
One-third cup of chile powder is not an error. In a brine you need this much to end up with a subtle boost of flavors. Try it once, then tell us we are crazy

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