Stir-Fried Sichuan Shrimp with Dried Red Chiles
The menu at Tian Di Yi Jia, a two-year-old Beijing restaurant that specializes in imperial cuisine, depends on extraordinarily expensive or rare ingredients like shark's fin and abalone. But some of the dishes are simple and delicious, such as these fiery Sichuan shrimp. The Sichuanese typically use small freshwater shrimp, frying them whole with coriander, Sichuan peppercorns and lots of hot dried chiles until the shells become crispy and very, very spicy while the flesh remains delicate and sweet. Foo shifts the balance of flavors in this recipe, adding far more shrimp. If you can find freshwater shrimp in the shell, pop the whole fried thing into your mouth--but take care not to eat those peppers.