Shrimp in Fermented Lychee Hot Sauce
By Michelle Chang 張怡
The lychee fruit is native to southern China and was also known as the “Chinese cherry”. It has a sweet and sour taste and became a very popular fruit. In Taiwan, from May onwards, you can see fruit trucks on the roadside with bunches of lychees. After having moved to France, I again found lychees, but the varieties of lychees from Madagascar are not like those from Taiwan, each one having much less pulp.
The most well-known fan of lychee was “Yang Guifei 楊貴妃”, the princess consort of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. When the lychee season came, the Emperor Xuanzong of Tang would send his inspectors riding horses to bring the lychees to the capital day and night to keep them in the freshest condition.
As to why Yang Guifei prefers lychee? Later generations speculated that the lychee is rich in vitamin C, which could make your skin beautiful, and in the Tang Dynasty, people liked women to have a plump body, the high carbohydrate content of the lychee provided a lot of calories.
Lychees have a very short shelf life and must be stored at low temperature for 3-5 days, but if stored too long, the aroma and flavor will be lost. Lychees are widely used in cooking, not only fresh, but also preserved in syrup. It is a good ingredient for desserts, drinks, or with bread.
Because of its lighter flavor and even Rose-like or Osmanthus fragrans-like aroma, it is very suitable for both raw and cooked seafood. Lychee contains a variety of essential amino acids, through the fermentation effect, more amino acids can be accessible. The high sugar content of lychee speeds up the fermentation process. The use of orange juice as the liquid in this fermented hot sauce also provides carbohydrate, making it a completely natural sweet-and-sour sauce.
Part I. Fermented Lychee Hot Sauce
Preparation: 30 minutes
Fermentation: 15 days
Note: Once a day during fermentation, press the glass lid with your left hand and release the valve with your right hand to let the carbon dioxide out of the bottle.
400g of lychee (~220g left after peeling the husks and removing the pits)
3g of coriander seeds
1 Havana chili
3 sticks of lemongrass
600ml fresh orange juice
1. Prepare a 1L canning jar, sterilize and dry it.
2. Peel the husks and remove the pits of lychees. Collect the flesh of the lychee.
3. Put on gloves, cut the Havana chili, and remove the seeds. Cut the chili into small cubes.
4. Peel and chop the shallots.
5. Remove the hard part of the lemongrass and chop the rest.
6. Finely chop the Parsley.
7. Pour the orange juice in the canning jar and add all the ingredients.
8. Use a spoon to press all the ingredients under the liquid and place several layers of baking paper on the surface to keep the air out.
9. Put the lid on and lock the safety valve.
10. Place the fermenting jar in a cool place and ferment for 15 days.
Part II. Shrimp in Fermented Lychee Hot Sauce (2 persons)
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
100ml fermented lychee hot sauce
A pinch of salt
10 cherry tomatoes
A little fresh Parsley
12 shelled shrimp
1. Blend the fermented lychee hot sauce in a blender.
2. Slice the chayote. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half
3. Boil the shrimp in a pot of hot water, when they are cooked, take them out and put them in a bowl. (Be careful, don’t overcook them).
4. Boil the fermented lychee hot sauce + water in a pot.
5. Add the sliced chayote and cherry tomatoes and bring to a boil again over medium heat.
6. Add the shrimp last and salt to taste and remove from the heat.
7. Place in a bowl and add a pinch of parsley.
Michelle Chang was born in Taiwan in 1967. In 2012, she moved to France, and in 2017, opened her restaurant, La 5ème Saveur. Her cuisine is a revisitation of French cuisine through fermentation. She is also a writer and columnist for a Taiwanese health magazine. www.cheffemichellechang.com