Sichuan Shrimp on Spicy Scallion Pancakes/Stone Tangerine Express/Arrowhead “Desert Cult Ritual”
Well, we might as well start by getting this out there. What these started out to be and what they eventually became are two different things. On the plus side, the final dish was delicious and it also gives us the opportunity to make what we initially intended at some later date. Let us explain. Our Facebook feed lights up with different food videos (go figure) and the one that has caught our eye lately are these Chinese crepes that are sold by street vendors throughout the region. Basically a thin batter goes down on a griddle and is topped with a variety of topics from eggs to beef to veggies, then rolled up like a burrito.
In our attempt to recreate these, we made a quick batter of flour, water, garlic, eggs and green onions to make the pancakes. We then grilled up some shrimp with an assortment of Chinese vegetables along with a quick and spicy Sichuan sauce. What we wound up with was more of a puffy Chinese taco overflowing with filling instead of the nuanced and balanced roll-up that we were shooting for, but that’s ok, the flavors were perfect. For the beer we liked the idea of a citrusy IPA to pair up with the spicy meal and Stone’s Tangerine Express IPA fit the bill nicely. For the tunes, yet another awesome release got spun this evening. We went to the land down under and cranked up Arrowhead’s instant classic “Desert Cult Ritual”.
Sichuan Shrimp on Spicy Scallion Pancakes – We’ve got a few things going for us to make this a really simple weeknight meal; a quick, no-knead pancake dough, a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and one of the fastest cooking proteins in existence, shrimp, which is where we’ll start. In a grill-safe pan we add a little sesame oil then toss in a tablespoon each of chopped garlic and pureed ginger.
Once those aromatics get fragrant in about 30 seconds or so, we toss in our large, raw shrimp.
We stir the shrimp around for only a couple of minutes until they start to turn orange.
Now we can toss in a cooked bag of mixed Asian vegetables.
We’re ready to sauce this stuff now starting with a couple of tablespoons of ketchup and a tablespoon each of soy sauce and sweet chile sauce.
We let this mixture cook down for a few minutes until the sauce absorbs into the shrimp and veggies then remove from heat.
As we’re keeping the filling warm, we can now move to the dipping sauce. It’s a super simple one made of 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, a teaspoon each of honey and ginger paste, a splash each of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
The last piece are those chinese pancakes which we make by combining 2 cups of flour with 2 1/4 cups of water, a tablespoon of garlic salt and 8 green onions finely chopped.
We pour the thin batter in large circles on a hot, oiled griddle along with a drizzle of sriracha on top of the dough.
Once the pancake browns slightly on the bottom, we flip over an repeat on the other side.
Another drizzle of sriracha goes down and we flip again when the bottom on the other side is browned.
We remove the crepe from the pan then ladle the shrimp filling right on top followed by a few slices of fresh jalapeño and some crushed peanuts.
Then it’s roll up and dig in time. Even though it wasn’t what we set out to make, it was no less delicious.
Tangerine Express – We cruised through the Jewel cold beer section like we always do; hoping for something new that we haven’t tried yet but expecting to go to the unrefrigerated beer aisle to ultimately get our beer. This recent trip started out the same but, when we got to the bomber section next to the usual players like Fat Tire and Guinness, were these tall bottles of Stone’s inviting looking Stone’s Tangerine Express IPA. The beer pours a cloudy and unfiltered looking dark orange with an aroma like Fruit Loops, but just the orange and red ones. The first sips brought forth the immediate sweet tang of tangerine followed immediately by a wallop of bitter hops. Our tastebuds were scrambling trying to figure out what was going on from the sour to the sweet to the bitter than to the boozy. It’s a taste explosion of an IPA for sure and as addicting as it is delicious. The beer also quenched the flames brought forth by the fiery pancakes completing a perfect pairing.
Arrowhead “Desert Cult Ritual” – Who’s ready to crank up some Australian stoner rock? We are, that’s who. Arrowhead’s “Desert Cult Ritual” grabbed us by the ears on our very first spin of the album and we’ve been hooked ever since. Right off the bat you get sucked into the overall catchiness and groove these guys throw down. The title track is also the opener and the song rips. There’s a lot of UPO (who coincidentally may be one of the most underrated/underappreciated bands we know of) going on here both vocally and instrumentally. The tune sets one heck of tone for the album. “Hell Fire” starts off with a Sabbath-y “Hole in the Sky” riff before kicking into a raging biker metal anthem tinkering in Orange Goblin and BLS territory. On “Hypnotiser” a trippy, fuzzed out blues intro gets the song going as the bludgeoning, doomy groove starts to set in culminating in a churning, medium-paced headbanger of a tune that is one of the best on the album. The band gets downright psychedelic with excellent results on the Doors meets Fu Manchu “Bone Mountain”. “Maneater Blues” is as its name states, is rooted in the blues, but there’s a good amount of fuzzy stoner rock going on to make this tune a rocker that you crank up nice and loud. The 7+ minute epic “Weed Lord” goes between early Monster Magnet trippy stoner psychedelia to a huge slab of slow and doomy sludge that will rattle your fillings Crowbar-style if you play it loud enough. “Rogue Asteroid” is a boot-tapping clinic in the art of the stoner groove and a killer track. This incredible album ends with “Dragon Whips It’s Tail” which despite its Dio-esque name is actually a loose, fuzzed out instrumental jam that shows off just how skilled these guys are as musicians. It’s an absolutely incredible album and one of our all time favorites.