Some days I want a hearty meal without having to do so much chopping, slicing, prepping. At times, I want to go the super traditional route with all the bells and whistles to get the most depth in a dish but other days, I want it super delicious without too much effort. And of course, I can lean on the handy dandy Korean celebrity chef Baek Jong Won. He’s famous for simplifying recipes and making them super easy for the home cook.
Recently, Baek Jong Won highlighted shrimp on his cooking show “Home Cook Master Baek” and it has been super popular. With the exception of it needing to be fried, the cream shrimp recipe itself is very simple. The shrimp and batter includes only 3 ingredients:
- Korean frying mix*
- plus the frying oil
The sauce is also 3 ingredients:
- rice vinegar
- and optional sprinkling of parsley
It’ll make you wonder, can this be good? And I had my doubts BUT it is delicious! Tasting just the sauce at first, I thought it was too acidic but mixing it in with the fried shrimp showcased the creamy sauce with an ending bright tone. Lovely!
*Most Korean home kitchens are stocked with Frying Mix (튀김가루) which is mixture of flour, starch, baking powder. This is easily found in the Korean supermarket and many Asian markets. (Below are just two examples) If you don’t have this on hand, you could take one cup of flour minus 2 Tbsp out of the flour and add 2 Tbsp of corn or potato starch to make 1 cup of the substitute mixture. The starch will help to crisp up the shrimp more than plain flour. You can also just use flour but the shrimp may not be as crisp.
snipits from the episode…
Korean Chef Baek doing his thing, teaching.
First fry – still light in color
Double frying is the way to go! Golden and crispy
The other two guests in shock that the sauce is so easy!
Surprised by flavor !!
Baek Jong Won's Super Easy Cream Shrimp
2-3 people when served with rice
First Shrimp Fry
If using frozen shrimp, run the shrimp under cold water for about 3-5 minutes. Clean shrimp as needed removing black vein that runs along the center back.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the 2 C frying mix and 1C cold(!) water. If the water is not cold, add in some ice cubes.
Place the shrimps into the frying batter. Make sure all the shrimps have a good even thick coating of batter.
Add cooking oil to a saucepan and over medium heat, bring oil to about 350 degrees F (180 C).
*If you don't have a candy/oil thermometer, to test the oil, drop a dot of the frying batter to the oil. The batter should drop to the bottom of the pan and in about 3 seconds float back to the top.
Or with a wooden chopstick, place it into the oil and the sides of the chopstick should slightly bubble. This is when your oil is ready!
Add the shrimp to the pan and fry your shrimp until golden brown. Just about 3 minutes or so. If you're new to frying, add in 3-4 shrimps at a time. Don't overcrowd the pan. Make sure the shrimps do not stick together when you first add them into the oil.
Place the fried shrimp on a paper towel lined dish or mesh bowl to drip out the excess oil.
In a small frying pan on low heat add the 1/2 C mayonnaise, 1/4 C sugar and 2 Tbsp of vinegar. Mix together until just combined and set aside to finish the shrimp.
*Do not overheat, the mayonnaise can begin to separate.
Double Fry and Finish
Double frying is the best! Fry the shrimp one more time for only about 30 seconds to 1 minute to get the extra crisp without burning the shrimp.
After the shrimp is all double fried, turn on the sauce pan to low heat, dump all of the fried shrimp into the sauce and mix!
Make sure all the shrimps have been fully coated with the sauce, plate it on a plate. Sprinkle some parsley.