Crispy Shrimp With Roadside Dipping Sauce

Try A Sulawesian-Style Dish.


Anatoly Vartanov

On the road from Makassar along the coast up into the mountainous regions of Tana Toraja, they make food in the most typical Sulawesian style, with influences from all over the tropical Asian world. I had a killer salt and pepper prawn dish at a sleepy little seaside cafe that was so awesome that when I got home from Indonesia I had to dig out this old recipe of mine and try to replicate it, right down to the spicy dipping sauce. These shrimp are addictive. Be careful.

Serves 4-6 persons


2 lbs. u-15 ocean-caught shrimp

2 tbs. kosher salt

3 egg whites

1 cup cornstarch

4 cups peanut oil

2 tbs. oil reserved from the 4 cups

12 scallions, cut in 2-inch lengths

1 tbs. coarse sea salt

1 tsp. ground white pepper

2 tbs. sugar

5 dried red chilies


Butterfly and devein the shrimp, leaving tail and shell attached.

Toss with kosher salt and let sit for 15 minutes refrigerated.

Press gently in a dry towel to remove moisture.

Heat peanut oil to 375 over high heat in a large wok.

Dip shrimp in egg whites, then dredge in cornstarch.

Shake shrimp free of cornstarch and fry till crispy in several batches.

Carefully top off the oil, leaving 2 tbs. behind, and increase the heat to high under the wok.

When the oil starts smoking, add the scallions and chilies; toss quickly; then add shrimp.

Toss to coat, adding the sea salt, pepper and sugar as you rotate the food across the wok surface.

Toss and serve -- the sauce below makes a nice partner.

Roadside Dipping Sauce for Fried Seafood


1/2 cup thinly shaved shallots

1/4 cup thinly sliced hot chilies (I like to use serranos in this recipe)

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup chicken stock

3 tbs. Chinese rice wine or Japanese sake

3 tbs. sugar, or more to taste

1 tbs. minced ginger

3 thinly sliced garlic cloves


Combine and use immediately.

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