Brussels Sprouts with Shrimp Sauce
4
servings
Appetizer
Course
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Directions
Ingredients
¼ c
vegetable oil
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6
garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
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24
Brussels sprouts, halved
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2 tsp
salt
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20
dried shrimp, hydrated in 1⁄2 cup warm chicken broth or water for 40 minutes (reserve the liquid)
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2 tsp
chicken bouillon powder
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One of my earliest memories of America is waking up from a winter afternoon nap to a horrible smell—a stench, if you will. Groggy and slightly hungry, I stumbled to the kitchen to find my mother putting together dinner. “I’m using this new vegetable I found,” she said, revealing a slimy green and brown concoction. The classic dried shrimp sauce looked familiar, but the vegetables in question were unlike anything I’d seen before. They were small, bitter- smelling, soggy half circles with layers and layers of tiny leaves.

They were, I would come to learn, Brussels sprouts. And they smelled like shit. 

The traditional version of this dish is made with bok choy, which works with the light, umami-filled seafood sauce. But Brussels sprouts added an unexpected element, a bitterness and a mushiness and a smell that stunk up the apartment for days. I threw a fit. I remember being forced to eat the sprouts, spitting them out when my mom wasn’t looking, crying and com- plaining the entire time. 

Only now do I look back and realize what a brat I was being, and how hard my mom was working to make do with whatever ingredients she could find. And to her credit, she became a better cook over the years. So in her honor, I went back and tried this dish—and to my surprise, it worked. The extra hit of garlic masks the typical Brussels sprouts smell, while the chicken bouillon adds a savoriness to counterbalance the fishiness of the shrimp. I promise, it won’t stink up your apartment, but if you’re really nervous you could just use bok choy. 

 

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the Brussels sprouts. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the salt and keep stirring until the sprouts turn bright green.
  3. Add the shrimp and the reserved broth or water, plus the chicken bouillon powder. Stir to combine and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes. Serve.

Recipes reprinted from XI’AN FAMOUS FOODS: THE CUISINE OF WESTERN CHINA, FROM NEW YORK'S FAVORITE NOODLE SHOP by Jason Wang with Jessica Chou. Photography by Jenny Huang. Published by ABRAMS.