Leela Punyaratabandhu's Grilled Sweet-&-Sour Shrimp Kebabs

"This recipe is so simple that you don't need any special tricks to make it great," the author of the Flavors of the Southeast Asian Grill cookbook says about her spin on the popular Thai street-food snack

Leela Punyaratabandhu’s Grilled Sweet-&-Sour Shrimp Kebabs

4 cups ice water

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1 2/3 lb. large peeled, deveined raw shrimp, tail-on

2 Tbsp. tap water

1 tsp. cornstarch

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup canned tomato puree

2 1/2 Tbsp. Sriracha chile sauce

2 1/2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar

1 Tbsp. white or apple cider vinegar

Canola oil, for greasing

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

1. Soak 12 (12-inch) bamboo skewers in water for 1 1/2 hours, or set aside metal skewers.

2. Meanwhile, stir together ice water, baking soda and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl until baking soda and salt dissolve. Add shrimp, weighing them down with a bowl to keep submerged. Let stand 30 minutes.

3. Preheat grill to high (450° to 500°). Whisk together tap water and cornstarch in a small bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.

4. Stir together garlic, tomato puree, Sriracha, sugar, vinegar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 minute. Add cornstarch slurry, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat, and let sauce cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.

5. Drain shrimp, rinse under cold running water, and blot dry with paper towels. Thread 5 to 6 shrimp onto each skewer; brush evenly with half of the Sriracha sauce.

6. Coat top grill grate with oil; place kebabs on oiled grates. Grill, covered, until grill marks have formed and shrimp are opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side.

7. Transfer shrimp to a platter, and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve immediately with remaining Sriracha sauce on the side

Quick tip! "Shrimp can get soft and mealy in the fridge," says Punyaratabandhu. "Soaking them in ice-cold water, baking soda and salt returns them to a snappy, crisp texture.

Serves: 6

Active time: 40 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

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