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Dragon Well Tea Shrimp Recipe Photos

Dragon Well Tea Shrimp Recipe

  Longjing prawns, also known as shrimp stir-fried with Dragon Well tea, is a specialty of Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, produced using the meat of live river prawns coated with egg white and moistened starch, fried in lard at a medium-low temperature for 15 seconds, removed from the oil and drained when jade-white in colour, and then quickly stir-fried over extreme heat with boiling water infused with Longjing tea, tea leaves and Shaoxing wine. This dish consists primarily of white and green colours; the colours are elegant and the flavour is light and fragrant. According to legend it arose when the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty visited southern China. Hangzhou's famous Louwailou restaurant is a well-known producer of Longjing prawns. in Hangzhou , it’s one of the most enjoyable dishes to eat during summer. Newly picked longjing , or dragon well tea, is used to accompany the river shrimp. Traditionally, the tea leaves have to be picked around Qingming  in early April to ensure their tenderness. The shrimps have to be plump residents of the river, and must be captured alive. Green tea such as longjing is rich in antioxidants, while shrimp is high in protein. When cooked carefully, the shrimps remain white and the tea leaves green. In one bite, the smoothness of the shrimp contrasts with the slightly bitter taste and rougher texture of the tea leaves. Together, the two ingredients form a perfect balance of nutrient content, color, texture and taste.

  Hangzhou people favor this dish so deeply that its origin has been romanticized. It is said that the great poet Su Shi  was the inspiration behind this delicious invention. Sitting by the riverside on a spring day, he wrote the lines “Brewing the freshly picked tea on the newly started fire, I should enjoy poetry and wine while my youth lasts.” A suitably inspired Hangzhou chef then combined newly picked tea leaves with shrimps from the river to create the dish.

  An alternative anecdotal tale involves the Qing Dynasty (1616 A.D. – 1911 A.D.) Qianlong  Emperor, who is said to have enjoyed traveling incognito to Southern China. During one such journey, he stopped at a farmhouse and was offered a cup of tea. The brew carried such a delicious fragrance that he grabbed some tea leaves from the farmer’s basket before he left. Later, he visited a restaurant in town and gave the tea to the waiter to prepare. By accident, a corner of his dragon robe, a garb that could be worn only by the emperor, gave away his identity. The waiter scuttled in to tell the chef the news. Reeling from the shock, the chef mistook the tea leaves for chopped green onion and mixed them with the shrimp. The dish turned out surprisingly well and greatly pleased the emperor.

  Now, you can follow in his footsteps and can enjoy this dish at home by gollowing the recipe below:

  Ingredients: [serves two people]

  1000g fresh shrimps

  2tbsp longjing tea (or any green tea, but make sure they are leaves, not tea bags)7tbsp cooking oil

  1tbsp egg white

  2tsp Chinese cooking wine

  1tsp salt

  1/2cup starch, mixed with 1/4 cup of warm water2tsp chicken powder (optional)

  Method

  1.  Marinate the shrimps with salt (1/2tsp), egg white, starch and water mixture (1/4cup), 1tsp chicken powder and 1/2tsp of cooking wine.

  2.  Brew the longjing tea with boiled water and set aside for 5 minutes, then separate the tea leaves from the liquid tea.

  3.  Heat 5tbsp of oil in a pan until hot and add the shrimps. Stir fry until the shrimps curl up and turn red. Be careful not to overheat the shrimps. Set them in a temporary container. Pour out the remaining oil. Clean and dry the pan.

  4.  Heat 2tbsp new oil in the pan until hot. Add the shrimps, 1tsp cooking wine, 1/2tsp salt and 1tsp chicken powder.

  5.  Add in the longjing tea leaves, quickly stir fry. Then add 2tbsp of the liquid tea and stir until the ingredients are evenly mixed. Keep heating until the liquid boils.

  6.  Add in 1/4 cup starch mixture and stir until even.

  7.  Serve hot.

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