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beijing, part 3

Shrimp dish

Isn’t it pretty? This recipe — the third part of this very short series — is delicious, vibrant, and somehow, fitting for the start of spring. I even planted my own Chinese chives this week, with hopes that they would get an early start this spring. The chives are a perfect match for these gorgeous shrimp: the chives’ subtle hint of flavor only serves to enhance the richness of the shrimp’s pink flesh. It reminded me of how serious people were about fresh seafood in Beijing. They wanted it brought to their table, live and thrashing, before the preparation could begin.

Shrimp prep

This dish is dead easy to make. The most labor-intensive part of the whole process was shelling the shrimp, but since I save my shrimp shells for stock, it was worth the hassle.

As an aside, there’s something rather fulfilling about using as much of any ingredient as you possibly can. If you roast a chicken, save the bones. If you cut into a leek, keep the green parts. As for fish? Buy them whole, and save the heads and bones. Store the bits and pieces in a big container or two in the freezer, and when you have the time and inclination to make stock (fish, chicken, vegetable, beef, or pork), transfer the ingredients to a large pot, cover with water, add a few seasonings, simmer for a couple of hours, and strain. Your effort will pay off; that I can promise you. You’ll have amazing stock at hand, in the freezer, for that next gorgeous dish you hope to try. Oh, and paying the extra money for the organic/ free-range/local ingredients won’t hurt quite so much.

Next time: I’ve been dying to play with this.

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Filed under China, Chinese chives, main, shrimp