We sometimes have chance to try shrimp dish on our Hanoi food walking tour, but it’s more of a restaurant and home dishes rather than street dish in Hanoi. People in Hanoi often cook shrimp (or prawn) with salt and black pepper, while Vietnamese along the coast tends to have more of steamed shrimps. In this article, we would like to show how Hanoian cook their shrimp with salt and black pepper.
For your information, fresh shrimp cooked with salt and pepper is a longtime dish celebrated throughout Southeast Asia, and its origin is said to come from Guangzhou, China. It’s said that the dish uses Sichuan peppercorns, and the Cantonese style uses white pepper powder. However, the Vietnamese style uses black pepper.
Since Sichuan peppercorns seem less popular than other pepper, therefore this dish is generally found with black pepper. Because of how good the shrimp is for our heath; you can find it in almost any Asian take-out restaurant.
As you can make this simple dish at home, a mixture of all three peppers (Sichuan, white pepper powder, and black pepper) bring out the flavors most. Himalayan pink salt can also replace the salt in this recipe. Himalayan salt has small amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium, making it slightly lower in sodium than regular table salt.
Let’s see what we have right here.
- 25 large head-on shell-on shrimps
- ½ cup of corn starch
- ½ tsp of Himalayan pink salt
- ½ tsp of black pepper
- ½ tsp of white pepper powder
- ¼ tsp of sugar
- ½ cup of cooking oil for frying
- 2 jalapenos
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 small shallots
- 1 bunch of scallions
- Prep the prawns by cutting off the whiskers and sharp point on the heat with a pair of scissors. Thinly slice the 2 jalapenos. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Mince 2 small shallots. Set aside.
- In a wide wok, heat ½ cup of cooking oil to about 350°F (177°C) for deep frying.
- In a small pan, use medium heat to roast ½ tsp of Himalayan pink salt and black pepper. As with all spices, dry roasting really amps up the flavor. Dry roast the salt and pepper until pepper aroma is potent, about 5 minutes. Pout the dry roasted spices into a small bowl. Add ¼ tsp of sugar. Add ½ tsp of white pepper powder. Set aside.
- Coat each prawn in corn starch and tap off excess. Do this twice to ensure each prawn is coated well.
- Deep fry prawns in batches of 5 or more depending on the size of your wok. Cook between 1 and 2 minutes since prawns cook quickly. Transfer the fried prawns onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- In a separate large wok, add 1 tbsp of cooking oil and heat on medium high. Add jalapeno, garlic, shallots and scallion. Sauté for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add fried prawns and sprinkle the salt-pepper-sugar mixture onto the prawns and lightly toss.
There you go. That’s how to cook Vietnamese salt and black pepper shrimp for 4 persons, with just about 15 minutes preparation and 10 minutes cooking. We hope you enjoy your cook, and please contact us if there is anything we can help.
If you are a fan of Vietnamese shrimp dish, check out our recipe for caramelized shrimp with pork.