Friday, November 9, 2012

Tangsuyuk (탕수육)

Okay, so this recipe is actually tangsu-saewoo because I made it with shrimp BUT if you choose to use pork or chicken or beef, you can still call it tangsuyuk. Tangsuyuk is a Korean version of sweet and sour pork and it's similar to kanpoongi except it's not spicy. I like tangsuyuk because it's mild and has universally appealing flavors and it's easy to make. It makes an awesome appetizer - often at jjajangmyun place, we'll get one for the table before we get our noodles - and an awesome side dish. The sweet and sour sauce itself can be made ahead of time and warmed up when you're ready to use it so it's great for entertaining with and your guests will be impressed. The reason I decided to use shrimp was because I had it in the house. But by all means, go ahead and use whatever protein you prefer. You could even go vegetarian with this (or vegan) and use tofu or faux-meat.

Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 lb shrimp or chicken or beef or pork or tofu, whatever you like (cut meat into bite-sized strips, shrimp can be left whole)
2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon + 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks or pineapple chunks (omit if you hate them or if you don't have)
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 bell pepper, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons oil
salt to taste
Start by chopping up the vegetables.

And mix together the main ingredients of the sauce - water, vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce.
And prepare the slurry of cornstarch and water - 2 tablespoons of each.
Once the prep work is done, you can crank the heat! In a saucepan over medium heat, add oil and saute onions, bell pepper, and garlic until soft. Then add in the soy-water-sugar-vinegar mixture and mangoes. Once the mangoes are sufficiently defrosted and the mixture starts to bubble around the edges, add in the cornstarch slurry. The mixture will look cloudy but as it comes to a boil, which is when it will reach its maximum thickening potential, it will turn clear and have the consistency of a loose jelly. As soon as this happens, remove from the heat, add peas, and set aside. This sauce can be made a day ahead.
Mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch with 1 tablespoon of water to create a thick mixture. It should be difficult to mix if you try to move the spoon too quickly (NON-NEWTONIAN FLUID ALERT!) so be gentle and work out any lumps. Pour mixture over the shrimp (or whatever protein you are using) and coat everything evenly.
In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and pan fry the shrimp (or whatever protein you are using) until the meat is cooked through and the breading is golden and crispy.
Here's how I like to serve it: pour a good spoonful of the sauce on the bottom of the plate.
Then, place shrimp (or whatever you used) on top of the sauce. This will help maintain that crispy texture so that your dinner guests (and you) can enjoy - but it's also up to you. I really like that crispiness and I like to control how much sauce is on my food.
And if you need it, here's the recipe page:

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