While it may sensible to plan your main course first, especially when entertaining, it is still important to give plenty of thought to the appetizer. Divinely crisp and naughty, those spicy and peppery shrimp are great on their own or served with a lemon-soy garlic dip on the side.
- 1 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 Tbs. peanut oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp red ground chili
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- salt and freshly ground pepper
For the dip:
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh scallions
- 1/4 tsp. honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
To make a dip: In a bowl, stir together lemon juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, scallions, honey and minced garlic. The dipping sauce may be made a day in advance, covered and refrigerated.
Bring to room temperature before serving.
In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, ground ginger, red ground chili, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. Spread the cornstarch mixture on a plate.
Warm a wok or large fry pan over high heat until very hot and pour in the peanut oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 5 seconds.
Quickly pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and dip in the cornstarch, coating both sides and shaking off the excess. Add the shrimp to the wok in a single layer and sear, turning once, until opaque throughout, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and serve with the dipping sauce.