SHRIMP IN CHILI SAUCE BRINGS A TASTE OF JAPAN TO YOUR TABLE.
Shrimp in Chili Sauce is a sweet and savory dish. Its author calls it “a shrimp cocktail but with more heat”. It’s from a fantastic cookbook gifted to us by Andrew’s sister Lauren. “Make it Japanese”(Clarkson Potter 2023) was written by Rie McClenny with an assist from Sanae Lemoine. Rie McClenny is a Japanese woman who moved to the States and lived in, among other places, West Virginia and Orlando. As you can imagine, Asian grocers were few and far between in the heartland. McClenny had to rely on American supermarkets to recreate her mother’s Japanese home cooking. That’s what makes “Make it Japanese” perfect for American kitchens. While mirin, soy sauce, and sake are now easy to find, the author shares ways of bringing Japan into your home by substituting ingredients she found in American supermarkets. Here, she discovered a substitute for a Chinese Chili Paste called ‘doubanjiang’ – good old American Sriracha to make Shrimp in Chili Sauce, a dish called “Ebi Chili” in Japanese. But that’s not all that’s American: McClenny uses Ketchup as “a secret flavor booster”.
KETCHUP CAME TO JAPAN IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY
When Japan opened its doors to foreign trade and cultural exchange, Western merchants and traders from both the United States and Europe brought Ketchup with them. It took a while for Ketchup to gain in popularity but it became a popular condiment in Japanese cuisine. Not quite as popular as it was in the Phillippines; that’s a story in itself. We covered it here: https://chewingthefat.us.com/2021/05/banana-ketchup-ribs-from-nicole-ponsecas-i-am-a-filipinoand-this-is-how-we-cook.html Today, ketchup is commonly used in Japanese dishes like omurice (omelette rice) and tonkatsu (breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet).
SHRIMP IN CHILI SAUCE IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF ‘CHUKA’
“Chuka” is a style of Japanese cooking that borrows a lot from Chinese cuisine but tailors it to the Japanese palate with readily available ingredients. Some other dishes that are Chuka include ramen, fried rice, and a spicy chicken salad that McClenny also features in “Make It Japanese”. Shrimp in Chili Sauce comes together very quickly. You make the sauce first, coat jumbo shrimp with potato starch or cornstarch then cook them in a flash–all of about 3 minutes. Garlic and Ginger are cooked briefly and added to the chili sauce which is heated and the shrimp are put back into it. Garnish the finished dish with Chives, and serve it over white rice then say “Itadakimasu” which is “Let’s Eat” in Japanese. Here’s the recipe followed by some other Asian treats.
Shrimp in Chili Sauce