Have you ever had Chinese shrimp dishes or dim sum where the shrimp are so crisp and crunchy that they literally “bounce” in your mouth? In Chinese, this revered texture is called “shuang cui.” My uncle told me that Cantonese chefs—especially those specializing in dim sum—treat and drain their shrimp with cold running tap water (water massage) for hours, which eventually results in that dense and bouncy texture that we all love. This technique certainly works but it’s not sensible for a home kitchen because gallons of water will be wasted.
After extensive research and many conversations with Chinese chefs and restaurateurs, I eventually came up with the technique that delivers a satisfactory result for home cooks. Again, the secret ingredient is baking soda, which is used to treat the shrimp before they are coated with an egg white and tapioca starch or cornstarch mixture, a process my Chinese chef friend, Mr. Wong, called “shang jiang.”
As most shrimp sold in the United States are previously frozen, I find this technique rewarding when I make shrimp dumplings, dim sum, or Shrimp Wonton Soup. If the shrimp you get lacks the bouncy texture, use the steps (see left) in recipes where the perfect mouthfeel of the shrimp is highly desired. Please take note that this process is time consuming, so it’s an optional step.
- 8 oz (250 g) shelled and deveined shrimp
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon egg white
- 1/2 tablespoon tapioca starch (preferred) or cornstarch
- 1 cup ice cubes
- Rub and massage the baking soda on the shrimp and put in a bowl. Add cold water until the shrimp is submerged. Add the ice cubes to the water. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Place the shrimp in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold running water. Rinse a few times if desired. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Add the egg white and starch to the shrimp and mix well. Leave the shrimp in the refrigerator for at least 4–6 hours or best overnight. You will notice that the flesh of the shrimp firms up and becomes denser. The shrimp is now ready for use.
How useful was this post?
Click on a star to rate it!
Average rating / 5. Vote count:
No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Thanks for your feedback!