admin, January 31, 2014
The most common way pinoys cook shrimp is the halabos method – placing it into a pan with a bit of water or clear soda and salt and letting it steam for a few minutes. This method has a problem. The heat distribution is uneven. One side of the shrimp is in contact with the very hot pan and the other side is exposed to the water / air. This sometimes results in shrimps with soggy shells that stick to the shrimp meat, which are hard to peel and they don’t look very good. And most times the shrimps are overcooked.
The fast boil method requires just a bit more effort but in terms of presentation, the shrimps come out much better looking. The shells are firm and glistening. It’s the best way so far to cook shrimp fresh (i.e. unseasoned). And the leftover shrimp maintain the firmness of their shells much longer as compared with the halabos or other methods.
We call this shrimp emperor shrimp because of the father of one of our friends who actually told us about how this method was used in his favorite restaurants. It is super simple to do.
Should you add salt to the water? It’s up to you. Some people say the taste is bland if there’s no salt. But then some people like the no-salt taste as “fresh”, and that’s what we’ll do here.
We do have an option below on seasoning shrimp cooked this way. This is the dry powder shell seasoning method. We sprinkle flavored salt on the shrimp. Yes, the seasoning goes on the outside of the shells and not the inside shrimp meat itself. The idea is it’s up to the person to rub the shells on the shrimp, or in our case we just lick the seasoning off the shells and our fingers as we eat the shrimp. We cook shrimps this way and then use them when we have flavored salt taste test parties.
A strainer or wiremesh net to get the shrimp out of the water
Step 1: Place the water in a large pot (something you’d use to cook pasta), add the oil and bring to a boil.
Step 2: When the water is boiling, carefully place the shrimp in. If you’re cooking a lot of shrimp, don’t just dump all of it in. You need to cook it in small batches. The water should be kept boiling as much as possible.
Step 3: Get the shrimp out when it has fully changed color (bright orange) and place it in a strainer to drain the excess water. Remember, the shrimp will still continue to cook a bit after it’s taken out of the boiling water.
Step 4: Serve and enjoy!
Optional serving method:
Sprinkle with flavored salt! See our post on this (Making your own flavored salt)
Ha ha! Well, everyone has his or her serving preferences. Sure why not!