Posts Tagged With: elephants

Sweet and Sour Shrimp

Thai Entree

SWEET AND SOUR SHRIMP

INGREDIENTS – SAUCE

3 garlic cloves
1 small onion
2 tomatoes
1 tablespoon corn starch
2½ tablespoons water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (1 cup more later)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce or ¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup vegetable oil or enough to cover shrimp

INGREDIENTS – SHRIMP

1 egg
⅔ cup fine bread crumbs
1 pound shrimp (24-to-32 count), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Serves 4. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION – SAUCE

Mince garlic cloves, onions, and tomatoes. Add corn starch and water to cup. Mix with fork until well blended. Add garlic, onion, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to pain. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add tomato, sugar, fish sauce, and white wine vinegar. Bring to boil. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce reduces by one-fourth. Add corn starch/water and Sriracha sauce. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Remove sauce and set aside.

PREPARATION – SHRIMP

Add egg to small bowl. Beat egg with whisk or fork. Add bread crumbs to medium bowl. Dip shrimp in egg. Dredge shrimp through breadcrumbs. Repeat for all shrimp. Add 1 cup oil to pan. Heat oil using medium heat. Oil is ready, when a bread crumb will dance in the oil. Add shrimp. Deep fry at medium heat for 4 minutes or until shrimps are golden brown.

Add sesame seeds to pan. Toast sesame seeds on medium heat for 4 minutes or until they start to brown. Ladle sauce over shrimp. Garnish with sesame seeds. Goes well with rice.

TIDBITS

1) Sweet and sour shrimp is one of the world’s tastiest dishes.

2) If you are served this in America, you are a valued guest indeed. If your boss invites over and cooks sweet and sour shrimp for you.

3) However, If you’re served this in Thailand, you might or might not be asked to formally unite your family and their family in a marriage alliance. That’s how tasty this entree is.

4) Of course, people and nations change their outlooks all the time. Nowadays, a repast featuring this shrimp might just mean, “Wow, you are the best folks we’ve ever met. We’ll buy the neighboring house for you so we can all play bridge on Fridays and race elephants on Sunday.”

5) Then again, it might mean that marriage pact. In this case, your family and theirs will naturally try forming a new ruling dynasty.

6) Are you ready to rule Thailand?

7) Think it over carefully. Thailand already has a king and a military that is tied in closely with the monarchy. You will have to defeat them.

8) This means overcoming the King’s hundreds of thousands of supporters.

9) You and your Thai family allies will number ten to hundreds, depending whether on not you count all those in-laws that you don’t really like.

10) You will have to count heavily on the element of surprise.

11) All in all, it seems a rather risky endeavor just for the sake of one meal, no matter how tasty.

12) This is why I’ve written this recipe for you.

13) For serving sweet and sour shrimp in America simply means, “You seem nice. Enjoy my hospitality.”

14) In Britain, it means, “What ho, you’re a splendid sort.”

15) This is why a million Thai tourists travel the US and the UK. It’s just so relaxing to eat your food without the worry of fomenting revolution or making your host thinking you’re gauche in some other way.

16) As Sigmund Freud once said, “Sometimes sweet and sour shrimp is just sweet and sour shrimp.”

17) I know, I know, many people thought he said a “banana” instead of “sweet and sour shrimp,” but that is just a typo. An extraordinary typo, yes, but still a typo.

18) It’s a lot to take in. May I suggest reading What to Serve If You Don’t Want to Start Wars by Raymond Burr Ito.

Chef Paul

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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The Elephants’ Graveyard – Part 1

“The Elephants’ Graveyard is right there in Biloxi.”

The cabby’s assertion startled me.

“Biloxi, Mississippi? Are you sure about that? It seems hard to believe.”

“It’s true all right. You have my word as a cabby.”

“Come now, I don’t see any elephants here.”

“We’re not in Biloxi, friend. We haven’t left the Airport. We gotta go east to Biloxi to see any elephants. The FAA don’t let no elephants into Gulfport. Dangerous to landing planes, you know.”

The meter ran as he talked and I was anxious to make my meeting, but I couldn’t resist saying,

“But the government is shut down again. Who will keep the elephants out of Gulfport now?”

“Damn!” The cabby slammed on the brakes to stop the cab, which wasn’t hard to do as we weren’t moving. He jumped out of the car. “Ow!” Chastened and little more cautious he opened the door and then got out. He retrieved a massive weapon out of the trunk and made his way back to the cab.

“Here, take this,” he growled as he hurled the gun at me. Minutes later when the ringing in my ears subsided I replied,

“How is it that I never read about it, anywhere?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I guess the local reporters just got used to ’em, and just never wrote ’em up.”

“But surely, the migration of elephants to Mississippi would have made front-page news?”

“You’re wrong, friend. The elephants came here in 1862, right in the middle of the war. Folks round were just too preoccupied with the fighting to notice them right off. But soon enough, General Lee enrolled them into his army. The ‘phants, as some call them, were in Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. We would have won the battle, but them Yankees let loose thousands of mice. Those mice scared the ‘phants, who turned around and stampeded the Rebel men. That’s how we lost the war.”

“Fascinating, but why did they choose here of all places?”

“For the peanuts.”

“But they don’t grow peanuts in Mississippi, they grow peanuts in Georgia as you well know.”

“Well, those ‘phants didn’t know nothing about that, did they? You’re not as smart as you looked, Mister. I’m fixing to take you there, right now.”

“But, I simply must be at a meeting in Long Beach, to the West!”

He ignored my feeble protests, gunned the engine, and soon we hurtled eastward at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. Soon the fair gulf regaled us with its shimmering beauty.

“Thalassa! Thalassa!”, I shouted to the cabby, “That’s Greek for the ‘The Sea.’ The Sea.”

“Yea, whatever. Look, there’s Peanuts Pavilion. Right next to that is the Planter’s dock and peanut refinery.”

“Ooh, that looks quite interesting. May we stop and investigate?”

“No.” He stomped on the gas pedal as way of protest and soon we were pushing the edge of the envelope at 25. “We’re looking for ‘phants. You gotta problem with that?”

“No,” I meekly replied. Since I was at the cabby’s mercy, I resolved to endure the best I could and would resolutely scan the horizon for the noble beasts whenever I wasn’t following the soaring meter.

Soon we crossed the border into Biloxi and immediately the clouds parted to reveal glorious, golden shafts of sunlight. I could almost swear I could hear angels singing melodious hymns of joy. The cabby belched.

Soon, the traffic in our lane slowed and eventually stopped at Eisenhower Drive, while in the lane to the bookstore, traffic ground to a halt. All the while, the meter merrily climbed. We noticed state troopers inspecting the cars, talking to all, waving some on, and pulling over others. Soon, one made his way to the cabby’s Honda Accord.

“Transporting any illegal elephants with you?”

“No,” the cabby explained at length as he handed over his license.

The trooper examined the license and then carefully pointed his flashlight inside the cab. Eventually, he seemed satisfied by our serene demeanor and waved us on. Whoosh, aided by a tail wind, we again darted eastward, leaving even the most vigorous pedestrians far behind. I turned to watch the Miss-Elephant-Rider-of-the-Mississippi-Gulf-Coast contest taking place on the beach; so did the cabby.

Crash! After shaking off the shattered glass, I looked up to behold a most angry pachyderm. Instinctively, I knew the elephant’s name to be Felix.

“What ho, Felix! How’s it hanging?” I bantered cheerfully to the gray skinned beast breathing in my face. Evidently, this was not proper elephantine etiquette as Felix trumpeted loudly as he crushed the front of the cab with one mighty stamp.

“Damn,” gushed the rattled cabby and then moments later, “I’m ruined.”

“My goodness, it’s not as bad as all that,” I opined. “Aren’t you covered by AAA insurance? I have it and it explicitly states that they will replace any one car crushed by a rampaging elephant.”

“Yep, but that won’t do me no good. That ‘phant will just hunt me down and crush every car I drive.”

“Surely, you are blowing a little tiff by that elephant all out of proportion.”

“No, I’m not. An elephant never forgets.”

The cabby remained inconsolable, and so, I waited quietly for AAA to bring the new cab. I then spied the smashed meter, and so, waited contentedly for the new car.

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