Category Archives: Seafood

Crab and Scallion Noodles

One of my favorite restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley is Newport Seafood, which specializes in Chinese-Vietnamese cuisine. They are famous for their house special lobster, but I prefer their house special crab. The crab is sautéed with scallions, ginger, and fresh peppers and is so delicious, I crave it all the time, but I reserve Newport for birthdays and special gatherings. To satisfy my craving, I took the same flavor profile and created this noodle dish. This recipe is easy to prepare, but it is important to have all the ingredients prepped in advance, because the recipe moves quickly. You want to time the noodles so that they finish cooking right as the crab is being added to the scallion mixture. For this recipe, I use one whole Dungeness crab. I steam the crab for 20 minutes and then pick out the meat. Adding fresh crab really makes a difference, but if you can’t find live crabs, you can buy the lump crab meat from your local supermarket. I hope you’ll love this noodle dish as much as I do. Enjoy!

 

Crab and Scallion Noodles

Serving Size: 4

 

1 lb of fresh chow mein noodles or Chinese wheat noodles

1/4 cup of unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

1 cup of 1/4″ sliced scallions (about 3-4)

2-3 mild red peppers, thinly sliced (extra for garnish)

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of ginger juice*

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

1 tablespoon of Maggi Seasoning**

1 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar, preferably organic

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3/4 teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper

1/2 lb of steamed Dungeness crabmeat or store-bought lump crab meat

Cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

 

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Take the chow mein noodles, separate them in a colander and set near the boiling pot.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter on medium-low heat in a wok or a large sauté pan.

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3. Once the butter is melted, add the scallions, sliced red peppers, garlic and ginger juice. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir with a wooden spoon for about one minute.

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4. Add the oyster sauce, Maggi, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Stir for another minute.

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5. The water should be boiling at this point. Follow the instructions on the noodle package and cook the noodles. (Fresh noodles typically take anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes to cook).

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6. Meanwhile, add the crab to the scallion mixture and toss gently, so as not to break up the meat.

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7. Drain the noodles (but don’t rinse) and add to the crab and scallion mixture. Using tongs, toss gently. Taste for seasoning. Remove from the heat.

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8. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Add a few cilantro leaves and sliced red peppers. Give each bowl one turn of the pepper mill. Serve immediately.

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* To make ginger juice,  using a microplane grate about a tablespoon of ginger.  Push it through a sieve to collect the juices. You should have about a teaspoon.

**Maggi Seasoning  can be found in most Asian markets.  It contains MSG, so if you are allergic, you can substitute it with soy sauce.

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Creole BBQ Shrimp

The first time I tried New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp, I expected grilled shrimp on the barbie, but tasted something completely different. The shrimp didn’t come off a grill and they weren’t coated in a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce – instead, they were swimming in a delicious sauce made with butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and Creole seasoning. Essentially, they are a “peel and eat” shrimp dish in a spicy rich sauce. Since then, I’ve tried a few versions of this dish at different restaurants in New Orleans and BBQ shrimp has become one of my favorite Creole dishes.

Unfortunately I don’t live in New Orleans, so to fulfill my craving, I developed my own version of this recipe. It most closely resembles the BBQ shrimp dish I had at Mr. B’s Bistro, though with a couple of adjustments. At Mr. B’s, they don’t hold back on the heat or the butter, but in my version I cut the amount of butter used in half, and I also add fresh thyme and lots of garlic. You can add more heat if you like, but don’t reduce the butter any more than I did, as this amount will make a generous amount of sauce. Finally, in New Orleans they use gulf shrimp for this dish, but I recommend using local wild-caught shrimp with the shell and head on.

This dish is very easy to prepare and takes less than 15 minutes once all the prep is done. Serve with a French baguette or rice to sop up the delicious sauce. If you like shrimp, try this dish – it will become one of your favorites. Enjoy!

 
Creole BBQ Shrimp

Serves 2

1/2 cup of unsalted butter, divided
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoon of Creole seasoning (recipe follows) or store bought like Tony Chachere
1/2 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 lbs of wild-caught shrimp or prawns (16-18 per pound), with shell and head on
Sea salt to taste
1 lemon, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
1 French baguette, toasted (or cooked long grain rice)
Tabasco sauce for serving, optional

1. Cut the butter into 16 equal pieces.

2. Heat a large stainless steel sauté pan to medium-low. Add 2 pieces of the cut butter (1 tablespoon) and heat until melted. Add the garlic and thyme leaves and sauté for one minute.

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3. Add the Worcestershire sauce, Creole seasoning, Cayenne pepper, black pepper and bay leaf. Stir well and increase the heat to medium-high.

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4. Add all the shrimp into the pan and stir to coat. Cook for about 1 minute.

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5. Push the shrimp to the back of the pan and whisk in the remaining butter, couple pieces at a time, until the sauce thickens.

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6. Stir and cook for about 1 more minute. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Add the lemon slices and parsley and cook for 30 more seconds.

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7. Serve with a toasted baguette or cooked rice.

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Creole Seasoning

Yield 1/4 cup

2 tablespoon of sweet paprika
1/2 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

Place all and ingredients into a glass mason jar. Secure a lid on top and shake until the mixture is combine. Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.

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Sweet and Spicy Shrimp

Kan Pong Sae Woo is a popular shrimp dish at Korean-style Chinese restaurants. It is essentially sweet and sour shrimp with a little heat. My older son loves shrimp and whenever we order take-out at Dragon restaurant in Koreatown, we include this dish in our order. Dragon makes their shrimp with a lot of batter, but I created a version with a light cornstarch coating. The shrimp in this recipe is supple and juicy and has a little pop when you bite into it. The trick is a method call salt-leaching.

Salt-leaching is a technique used by many Chinese chefs and I learned it from reading one of David Rosengarten’s books. You add roughly 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of raw shrimp, toss and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse. Add more salt. Rinse. Add more salt. Rinse. This process does not make it salty, but glossy, supple, and almost crunchy….like sweet shrimp at sushi restaurants. You can use this technique for other recipes like shrimp fried rice or when adding shrimp to a stir-fry. You will be pleased with the results. Enjoy!
Sweet and Spicy Garlic Shrimp

Serving Size: 2 or 4 with other sides

12 ounces of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (31-40 count per pound)*
1 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of organic ketchup
1/2 teaspoon of ground chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
1/2 teaspoon of organic soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of ginger juice*
1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of pineapple juice, optional
1/4 cup of cold water
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon of organic cornstarch or potato starch
1 1/2 cups of sunflower oil or peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced crosswise
6-7 dried Tien Tsin or Arbol chiles
Steamed Jasmine rice

 
1. Place the shrimp in a colander over a bowl. Sprinkle the 3/4 teaspoon of salt and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

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2. Meanwhile, add the sugar, vinegar, ketchup, chili paste, soy sauce, ginger juice, salt, and pineapple juice in a small bowl. In another small bowl, add the 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch and water and whisk well. Set aside both mixtures until ready to use.

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3. At the 30 minute mark, heat oil in a wok or a deep-fryer to 375°.

4. While the oil is heating, thoroughly rinse the salt off the shrimp with cold water. Add 1/4 teaspoon more salt and toss. Wait 30 seconds. Rinse. Repeat one more time. Pat dry with paper towels.

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5. Transfer the shrimp to large bowl and add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Toss well.

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6. Once the oil reaches 375°, add half of the shrimp. Deep-fry the shrimp for about 45 seconds or until the coating is nice and crispy. Remove the shrimp with a spider or slotted spoon and place them in a colander lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the process with other half of the shrimp.

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7. If using a wok, carefully pour out the oil into another pan. Place the wok back on the burner on high. Add garlic and sauté for 15 seconds.

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8. Give the water and cornstarch mixture a quick stir and add it to the sauce mixture. Pour the entire mixture to the wok.

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9. Once the sauce thickens, add all the cooked shrimp, dried chiles, and scallions. Toss to coat. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

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*When buying frozen shrimp, make sure there are no other ingredients besides shrimp. Avoid shrimp with additives like sodium tripolyphosphate. There is no need for preservatives. If at all possible, purchase wild caught shrimp.

*To make ginger juice, finely grate about 1 teaspoon of ginger. Squeeze the grated ginger over a fine mesh sieve. Discard the ginger solids and use ginger liquid for the recipe.

Dried Scallop Fried Rice

When I was in Hong Kong back in 2005, I had this incredibly delicious fried rice. Unlike most fried rice I’ve had at other Chinese restaurants, it wasn’t greasy and had very few ingredients: white rice, egg whites, dried scallops, and scallions. There’s no soy sauce or oyster sauce to overpower the subtle shellfish flavor of the dried scallops. The fried rice made the dried scallops the star. I loved the simplicity of the dish. Since then, I have tried several versions of this fried rice in Southern California, but none have been quite like the one I had in Hong Kong. So I decided to tackle the recipe myself.

Making fried rice is not difficult, but making good fried rice requires a few things. First, the rice should be cold, and typically a day old. This prevents clumping when frying the rice. Also, the rice should be fully cooked, but firm. You don’t want to use soft rice or your fried rice will be mushy. Also, make sure you use good-quality rice. Your recipe is only as good as its ingredients. Finally, making fried rice is fast process; once you have all the ingredients prepped, it’s just a matter of a few minutes before the dish is ready to be served.

Note: In addition to making the rice a day in advance, the dried scallops must be soaked overnight in the refrigerator. Please read the entire recipe first before starting this dish. Enjoy!

Dried Scallop Fried Rice

Serving Size: 4

7 large or 10 small dried scallops (soaked in water overnight)*
1 1/2 cup of chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
Sunflower seed oil or other neutral oil
3 egg whites
1/4 cup of choy sum stems, no leaves (thinly sliced)*
4 cups of cooked jasmine rice (day old)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of roasted sesame oil
Chili oil for serving (optional)

1. Take the scallops out of the water. Discard the water. Remove the tough muscle from each scallop.

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2. Pour the chicken stock into a small sauce pan and add the scallops. Bring to a simmer and reduce to low and cover with a lid. Cook on low for 30 minutes.

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2. Strain out the liquid, but don’t discard. Reserve the liquid and let scallops cool.

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3. Once the scallops have cooled, shred them with your fingers. Set aside.

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4. Heat a large wok on high. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok, swirl. Quickly beat the egg whites. Quickly cook the egg whites and remove from the wok. Set aside.

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5. In the same wok, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add the the choy sum stems, and sauté for 30 seconds.

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6. Add the rice and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and quickly stir letting the rice absorb the liquid.

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7. Add the shredded scallops, sliced scallions, and a good pinch of sea salt. Fold to incorporate. Don’t over stir or you’ll break up the rice.

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8. Finally, add cooked egg whites, sesame oil and some black pepper to taste. Give it a quick stir to incorporate. Turn off heat.

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9. Divide the rice in 4 bowls and serve with a side of chili oil.

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*You can find dried scallops in most large Chinese supermarkets or Chinese dried herb and supplement stores. Make sure you buy the Japanese dried scallops.

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*Choy sum is a leafy, green vegetable sold in Asian Markets.

 

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Garlic Noodles with Sautéed Shrimp

The Famous Garlic Noodles recipe at Crustacean in Beverly Hills has been a heavily guarded secret for nearly 20 years. In fact, the dish is made every day behind closed doors, in a separate “secret” kitchen off the main kitchen. Many people, including famous celebrities, have requested access to the secret kitchen, but they all have been denied. Much like the secret formula for Coca-Cola or KFC’s original recipe of 11 herbs and spices, the recipe lives with a select few. In my opinion, the noodles are good, but the reason they’re “famous” is because of the intrigue surrounding the recipe, one which has become coveted by many. In fact, search the internet and you will find dozens of copycat versions of the dish, proving once again that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Today I am adding my version to the group of imitators, which I created years ago for a friend. It may not be exactly the same, but it’s pretty darn tasty. Enjoy!

Garlic Noodles with Sautéed Shrimp

Serving size: 4 with other side dishes

1 package of Hakubaku organic wheat ramen noodles (9.5 ounces) or 12 ounces of fresh chow mein noodles
½ stick of unsalted butter
5 large garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce (Three Crabs or Red Boat brand)
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster-flavored sauce)
½ tablespoon of Maggi or thick soy sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
12 ounces of sautéed shrimp or 8 oz of sliced extra firm tofu
¼ cup of chopped scallions
Freshly grated black pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Cook noodles in boiling water for 4 minutes (or 1 minute if using using fresh noodles).

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2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients and remove from heat. Set aside.

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3. Once the noodles are cooked, drain but don’t rinse and reserve ¼ cup of the water. (If using fresh noodles, drain in cold water.)

4. Heat a large wok to medium heat. Add 3/4 of the garlic sauce. Add the noodles, scallions, cooked shrimp, and a few turns of the black pepper mill. Add a few drops of the reserved water to loosen noodles. Taste to see if you need the remainding garlic sauce.

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5. Add the Parmesan cheese. Mix well.

6. Remove from heat. Divide noodles among 4 bowls and top with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

Sautéed Shrimp Recipe

12 ounces of large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
3 tablespoons of neutral oil (sunflower or vegetable)
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
½ teaspoon of paprika
½ teaspoon of salt

1. Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

2. Remove from the refrigerator.

3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat with oil. Add the entire shrimp mixture at once.

4. Sauté shrimp for roughly 5 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from heat. Set aside until ready to use.