While orange chicken is a perennial favorite in Chinese-American restaurants, the sauce works for other proteins as well. This orange shrimp is made with marinated shrimp that’s flash fried and then glazed in a sweet and sour sauce that’s redolent of fresh oranges.
Because shrimp can have a strong flavor, I like to add some ginger, as well as a hint of toasted sesame oil, to the marinade. This tames any unpleasant notes in the shrimp, while enhancing its briny goodness. I also go with a light coating of potato starch on the shrimp before frying, as opposed to a batter. This keeps the shrimp from getting lost in a thick shell of batter.
You may be wondering what potato starch is and why I always use it instead of cornstarch. Potato starch is a starch extracted from potatoes (as opposed to corn). While it may be similar in appearance to cornstarch it produces different results.
When fried, cornstarch tends to get tough and crunchy, while potato starch results in a lighter crispier texture. As a thickener, cornstarch has a tendency to cloud whatever you’re thickening while giving it a sticky gummy texture. Potato starch on the other hand keeps the liquid being thickened clear, and avoids the cloying gumminess of cornstarch. Although the shrimp are fried in this recipe, they go into a sauce at the end, and the starch thickens the sauce, helping coat each shrimp in an even glaze.
While price is generally a good indicator of the quality of a product, for this dish, you want to use cheap marmalade. Expensive marmalades tend to be made using more orange peel, which tend to make it more bitter and cloudy. Cheap marmalade on the other hand is milder, sweeter and more translucent. Although the orange flavor tends to be weaker, the addition of orange juice adds plenty of flavor and color to the sauce.
- 12 ounces (340 grams) shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons potato starch
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Put the shrimp in a bowl with the soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil. Let this marinate for 10-15 minutes.
- Prepare a paper towel lined wire rack. Add 1-inch of vegetable oil to a heavy bottomed pot and preheat to 360 degrees F (180 C).
- Sprinkle the potato starch over the marinated shrimp and stir to coat evenly.
- When the oil comes up to the proper temperature, add the shrimp one at a time frying until the shrimp has turned bright orange. Do not try to crisp the coating or the shrimp will overcook.
- Transfer the cooked shrimp to the prepared rack.
- To make the sauce, add the orange juice, marmalade and salt to a frying pan and boil the mixture until the bubbles become big and shiny, and it has the thickness of maple syrup (the real kind, not the fake kind).
- Add the shrimp and toss to coat with the sauce.
Yield: 2 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.