A deep-fried shrimp dish glazed in a sweet and spicy sauce. Easy and delicious!
This past weekend, we celebrated my mother’s 80th birthday with a Korean feast! I made several of our family favorites, such as galbijjim, bossam, japchae, nokdujeon, ojingeo muchim, saengseon jjim (steamed fish), and gujeolpan (platter of 9 delicacies). Most of these dishes are what she used to make for us on special occasions. My mother greatly enjoyed the food and family gathering!
Like tangsuyuk, kkanpung saeu is a popular Korean-Chinese dish, which is a Chinese dish that’s adapted for the Korean palate by Chinese immigrants in Korea. Kkanpung is a Korean pronunciation of the Chinese word that refers to stir-frying until the sauce is all absorbed, and saeu (also spelled saewu or saewoo) means shrimp in Korean. When the dish is made with chicken, it’s called kkanpunggi (gi meaning chicken in Chinese).
You can use this kkanpung shrimp recipe to make the chicken version as well. Kkanpung dishes are typically served as appetizers to share at Korean-Chinese restaurants before eating jajangmyeon or jjambbong as a main dish. It can be pricey, but it’s easy to pull together at home!
To make the batter, I simply mix the shrimp with some potato starch and egg until the shrimp is evenly coated. This creates a light yet crispy coating. Be sure to deep-fry the shrimp twice for extra crispiness that will stand up to the sauce.
For a spicy kick, I used dried hot peppers to make chili infused oil, but you can use commercially prepared chili oil and/or fresh green/red hot peppers instead. You can always leave them out if you don’t want any spiciness.
Kkanpung Saeu (Sweet and Spicy Shrimp)
- 1 pound large shrimp about 22 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Oil for frying
- 8 tablespoons potato starch
- 1 egg
- 4 to 5 small dried red hot peppers roughly cut
- 5 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1- inch ginger thinly julienned
- 1 scallion finely chopped
- 1/4 medium onion finely diced
- 1/4 red bell pepper or 1 red chili pepper, finely diced
- 1 green chili pepper finely diced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons rice or dry white wine or use more water
- 2 tablespoons water or chicken or dashima broth
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil