Phoenix-tailed shrimp

Yield: 4 servings

Measure Ingredient
1 pounds (medium) fresh shrimp
1 tablespoon Vodka
1½ teaspoon Salt
⅛ teaspoon White pepper
1 cup All-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1 cup Water, cold
2 cups Oil, for deep-frying
6 tablespoons Salt, coarse
½ teaspoon Black peppercorns
2 tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns

Carefully remove the shells from the shrimp, leaving the tail sections intact. Devein and wash under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels. In a dish or bowl, marinate briefly in a mixture of the vodka, salt, and pepper while you make the batter.

In a mixing, put the flour and baking powder; gradually add the cold water, whisking until smooth.

In a wok, heat the 2 cup of oil until it reaches 350 degrees F. Add 1 tablespoon of the hot oil to the batter and stir to combine. Take a shrimp by the tail and dip it into the batter (do not dip the tail), then slide it into the hot oil. Deep-fry all the shrimp, a few at a time, until golden brown. This should take about 2 minutes for each batch. Drain on paper towels, and serve tails up, in a serving dish, with the salt/pepper mixture for dipping. Makes 8 to 10 appetizer servings.

FOR DIPPING: In a bowl, combine coarse salt and the peppercorns. In a dry frying pan over high heat, brown the salt/pepper mixture. When browned remove and run the mixture through a grinder.

Recipe: "Chinese Appetizers" by Verdi Published by Irene Chalmers Cookbooks, 1981

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