Tehya and I had the pleasure of being hosted by the City and Mayor of Seoul Korea a couple years ago and it was one of the most amazing culinary and cultural experiences we’ve ever had. You know a trip is starting off on a good note, when on your 14hr flight your first meal comes with a tube of peppersauce (Gochujang)! A rich, deep pepper paste with a hint of fermentation, balanced by the gentle heat of the peppers and an undertone of soy (sauce). This recipe is in memory of the beautiful people f Korea and the way the City of Seoul catered to our many senses and opened the door for my awareness of the rich culinary culture of Asia.
1 lb medium shrimp
1 scotch bonnet
2 birds eye pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 table spoon Soju
2 table spoon Korean chili paste (Gochujang)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (light)
pinch of salt
Tips: Substitute Chinese cooking wine for Soju, add fish sauce instead of salt and tomato paste (1 teaspoon) for the Korean chili paste.
Prep you ingredients .. clean and devein the shrimp, chop the garlic finely, slice the scotch bonnet pepper (wash you hands with soap after), chop the scallions and grate the ginger.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan or wok on a low flame, then go in with the garlic and the ‘white’ ends of the scallions. Allow it to gently cook for a couple minutes.
Add the scotch bonnet pepper as well as the Bird’s eye chili (bird pepper in the Caribbean) – open your kitchen window and turn on the exhaust fan above your stove if you have one, as the fumes with the frying pepper will be extreme.
Please note that I included the seeds of the pepper for that EXTRA kick, but you can exclude them if you’re ‘shy’ of real Caribbean sunshine. Turn the heat up to medium and add the shrimp. Stir well and cook until they turn pink (about 3-4 mins).
Now add the soy sauce, pepper paste and a pinch of salt (I didn’t mention it in the ingredient list.. but you can balance things with a pinch of sugar if you want).
Stir well and cook for 2 minutes, then add the Soju and top with the green parts of the scallion. Stir well.. turn off the stove and get ready to enjoy a perfect example of East meets West (Korea + Caribbean) in the form of a brilliant pepper shrimp.
Quite honestly, I enjoyed these as they were, but as a meal you can place this on a bed of steamed rice and you’ll have a delightful (but spicy) meal. A great snack (we say Cutters or cuttas in the Caribbean) for when you’re enjoying some adult beverages with friends.
The Caribbean will ALWAYS be “home” for me, but I’m quite intrigued by the possibility of calling Korea (or maybe another Asian country) home for a little while. The food, culture, people and SHOPPING is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced to date.