DIY: Salt and Pepper Shrimp

I have been telling myself I should eat more seafood and less meat. I have made the Cantonese dish Salt and Pepper Shrimp two times; and each time, it has been outstanding. I hope that by adding this recipe to my repertoire, it will only encourage me to eat more seafood.  
Ingredient list:

  • 1 pound large shrimp
  • 3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, chopped, keep seeds from 1 pepper
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • vegetable oil 
  • salt and pepper mix*

*For this dish, the key flavor is salt and pepper and to get the robust flavor needed, I suggest using course sea salt, black and white peppercorns, and Sichuan peppercorns. Place the same amount of each ingredient into a mortar and pestle and grind them. You can always make more and save it for later use.   
I learned about Lucky Seafood on E. 12th Street in East Oakland from my family and it’s where I shop for fresh shrimp with heads on. It takes some work, but when buying the fresh shrimp with heads, you may need to clean them, cut off the sharp edge around the head, trim away the claws, and devein. 

Once you have the shrimp prepped, pat them dry as much as possible. Season the shrimp with some of the salt and pepper mix and coat with the cornstarch.  
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauté the chopped garlic cloves, jalapeños, and scallions. Remove once it is browned, about five minutes.  
In the same pan, pour about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil for shallow frying on medium high heat. When hot, lay the shrimp down and cook for about one minute per side in batches. When the shrimp is orange and no longer translucent, remove them to a paper towel lined plate. While warm, you can season with additional salt and pepper mix.  Add additional oil to the pan as needed and repeat until all your shrimp is cooked. 
Wipe the pan clean using some additional paper towels. Return all the cooked shrimp as well as the garlic, jalapeño, and scallion mixture back in the pan and toss lightly to evenly distribute the spices. It’s ready to plate and enjoy!

Lin Jia Kitchen: Quality Chinese Food

Growing up in a Chinese American home, I eat a lot of Chinese food. My mom regularly cooks it and I sometimes cook it. Often, we go out to eat Chinese food. Most Chinese restaurants in Chinatowns have delicious, cheap food. Most of the time you don’t know where the food is coming from which is not always a good thing. If that worries you, you definitely want to know about Lin Jia Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland.  
Lin Jia Kitchen recently celebrated five years in the neighborhood! Their niche is cooking with organic and sustainable ingredients. They use Mary’s chicken, a local producer of free range chicken as well as grass fed beef. Their vegetables are always fresh and seasonal. The prices are quite a bit higher than what you can get in Chinatown, but you pay for what you get. The food at Lin Jia Kitchen remains authentic as you can hear the chefs speak Cantonese in the back.  
The menu is diverse and actually really great for vegetarians. I especially like the Tamago Tofu which is delicate egg tofu and eggplant braised in a house-made xo sauce with eggplant and snap peas.   
 After multiple visits to Lin Jia Kitchen, I have never had a bad plate. The chefs are also good about presentation as represented in some of these dishes.   
 So if you are looking for a healthier option for Chinese food, Lin Jia Kitchen is the place to go. They are open everyday of the year except Thanksgiving. So if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you might want to check out Lin Jia Kitchen.  They also have a great online ordering system if you want to do a pick-up.