Phoenix-Tailed Shrimp

Course : Chinese
Serves: 4
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1 pound fresh shrimp -- (medium)
1 cup water -- cold
1 tablespoon vodka
2 cups oil -- for deep-frying
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons salt -- coarse
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preparation / Directions:

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 350F. 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 by: "Chinese Appetizers" by Verdi Published by Irene Chalmers Cookbooks, 1981

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