This recipe was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2004.

Iron Chef chili shrimp

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

18-20 peeled jumbo shrimp, about 12 ounces (360g)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons (30g) Heinz Chili Sauce or 1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons shaoshing rice wine or Sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teapoon Asian chili garlic sauce or Sriracha hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/4 cup chopped scallions (green onions)


1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon salt in 4 cups of warm water, and put the shrimp in to "brine" for 10 or 15 minutes.

2. Peel and mince the garlic and ginger and set them aside in a small bowl with the dried red-pepper flakes. Mix all the remaining ingredients except the peanut oil and scallions in a bowl. Chop the scallions.

3. Heat a wok or saute pan over high heat until it's very hot, then put in the peanut oil and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. When it sizzles, put in the garlic, ginger and red-pepper mix and stir-fry briefly, until the vegetables are translucent. Add the shrimp and the chili sauce or tomato paste mix and stir-fry just until the shrimp are cooked through and pink, adding a small amount of water if the sauce becomes too thick and dry. Stir in the scallions and serve with plenty of steaming white rice.

MATCHING WINE: Fiery Asian dishes like this one are challenging with wine, and many experts advise against even bothering to try. Cold beer or tea makes a fine beverage companion. I'm always experimenting, though, and in two variations on this dish tried two different light-style reds - the Sokol-Blosser "Meditrina" red blend featured in yesterday's 30 Second Wine Advisor and a Chanrion 2002 Beaujolais Cotes-de-Brouilly - reasoning that the tomato sweetness and chile-pepper kick of the sauce would stand up to a red even if the shrimp would usually suggest a white. As it turned out, both pairings were passable if not awe-inspiring, the sauce and the wine seeming to heighten each other's fruit, but making a less-than-refreshing match with the heat of chile peppers. Another time, I might try falling back on an off-dry Riesling, which often works surprisingly well with fiery fare, or a more idiosyncratic match that I swear works with hot'n'spicy stuff, the much-maligned, sweetish and fizzy Lambrusco of Emilia-Romagna.