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Culinary SOS

Sweet and Pungent Shrimp--the More You Eat the More You Want

August 18, 1988|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: I wonder whether the Panda Inn would share their wonderful recipe for Sweet and Pungent Shrimp? It's excellent.

--C.H.S.

Dear C.H.S.: Is it ever. Our taste panel went wild over the nuggets of shrimp in their syrupy sauce, which some restaurants called Chinese popcorn, because . . . the more you eat the more you want.

PANDA INN CHINESE POPCORN

(Sweet and Pungent Shrimp)

1 pound (36 to 40) raw shrimp

1/2 egg white, beaten

1 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 to 4 cups oil for deep frying

Sweet and Pungent Sauce

Green onions

Peel and devein shrimp. Slice in halves lengthwise. Rinse well and pat dry. Add egg white to shrimp and mix well. Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch and salt and add to shrimp. Mix well. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and mix well again. Place shrimp in bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Remove shrimp and dust with remaining cornstarch. Shrimp should be dry to touch.

Heat remaining oil in large wok heated to 350 to 375 degrees. Fry shrimp 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until crisp, being careful to separate shrimp with long handled wooden spoon or chop sticks to prevent sticking. It may be necessary to fry shrimp in several batches. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon and drain well.

Add shrimp to Sweet and Pungent Sauce and toss quickly to coat shrimp. Immediately turn out onto platter and sprinkle with finely chopped green onions. Makes 4 servings.

Sweet and Pungent Sauce

4 1/2 tablespoons sugar

4 1/2 tablespoons catsup

1/4 cup vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Sherry

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon oil

2 large cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon chopped green onion

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon orange zest

Combine sugar, catsup, vinegar and salt and set aside.

Mix Sherry and cornstarch and set aside.

Heat oil in wok. Add garlic, ginger, green onion, red pepper and zests of lemon and orange and cook 30 seconds. Stir in sugar-catsup mixture. Immediately add Sherry mixture and cook until slightly thickened.

Dear SOS: Some of our favorite meals include macaroni casseroles. They are easy to make and seldom leave any leftovers. However, I am just a bit tired of using them all the time and would like more such recipes.

--MARGY

Dear Margy: These vintage recipes from the '60s, when macaroni casseroles were big and bountiful, are still great for people who are interested in convenience. They utilize convenient canned goods, refrigerator and pantry items for simple, quick cooking.

Pantry casseroles are actually having a nostalgic comeback among those who consider these period pieces classic. Here's a chicken casserole made with canned mushroom soup, peas and chow mein noodles that is easy and delicious, which I have been served at some dinner parties.

CHICKEN CASHEW

1 (2 1/2-ounce) jar mushrooms, drained

1 cup diced celery

1/4 cup sliced green onions

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 (10 1/2-ounce) can mushroom soup

1/2 cup milk

1 (8 1/2-ounce) can peas, drained

1 cup diced cooked chicken

1/2 cup salted cashews or peanuts

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Dash black pepper

1 (3-ounce) can chow mein noodles

Cook mushrooms, celery and green onions in butter. Combine with mushroom soup, milk, peas, chicken, nuts, soy sauce, pepper and half chow mein noodles in 1 1/2-quart casserole. Top with remaining noodles and bake at 375 degrees 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Dear SOS: Gulliver's in Marina Del Rey used to serve a delicious dessert of Vanilla Rum Mousse. Can you help me obtain the recipe?

--ANNE

Dear Anne: This mousse has been a Times favorite for years and years and years.

VANILLA RUM MOUSSE

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

Pastry Cream

2 ounces dark rum

Melba Sauce

Additional whipped cream

Whip cream with sugar until stiff. Blend together Pastry Cream and rum until smooth. Fold whipped cream into Pastry Cream. Place 2 tablespoons Melba Sauce in bottom of each of 4 (4-ounce) wine glasses. Pipe or spoon mousse on top so sauce travels halfway up glass. Top with additional Melba Sauce and garnish with whipped cream. Makes 4 servings.

Pastry Cream

1/2 cup sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt and blend with 1/2 cup cold milk. Scald remaining 1 cup milk in top of double boiler over low heat and add sugar mixture, stirring constantly.

Place mixture over simmering water and cook, stirring, until thickened. Cover and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour small amount hot mixture into eggs, stirring constantly. Combine eggs with remaining hot mixture and cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove custard from heat and add butter. Cool slightly and add vanilla. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Melba Sauce

1 (10-ounce) package frozen raspberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup strawberry jelly

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

Thaw frozen berries and mash. Combine with sugar in saucepan. Add jelly and cook over low heat until mixture comes to boil.

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