Like I said before, my wife and I have been modifying the ‘Internet classic Killer Shrimp’ recipe in an effort to get a taste that is closer to the real thing. One of the variations we attempted while narrowing down the correct formula involved extending & reengineering the cooking process.
CREATING A BASE STOCK FOR KILLER SHRIMP
When cooking for a long period of time (6 hours), we noticed that the red pepper oils seems to completely get absorbed into the soup. This does a couple things: One, it makes the soup hotter than we’re used to, and two, the soups “upper layer” is in particular distinctively hotter relative to the rest of the soup. This of course is what you generally end up eating more of initially.
And interesting thing happens however: Once you’ve eaten off that higher layer of ‘spicier’ soup, the remaining soup is delicious. It’s loaded with umami and has a savory, scrumptious flavor to it. It’s a little thicker than I’m used to – almost like a gumbo or maybe a jambalaya sauce – but our next step is to use it as the base stock for the next batch of “Killer Shrimp”.
THE PROCESS… COULD IT BE THE MISSING INGREDIENT?
At the heart of all of this is something that I’m not sure has been taken into consideration by most “Killer Shrimp” cooks in pursuit of perfection and that is the process by which the people at Killer Shrimp used to make their broth. This is what I think may be the missing ingredient that provides a savor that the basic ingredients don’t provide.
Remember that when Killer Shrimp’s employees would cook up a batch, it was highly unlikely they would ever “start a new pot”. Instead, we believe they would:
- Create & simmer down one pot for 4-6 hours.
- Throw in a single serving of shrimp and cook it for a few minutes.
- Gather all the shrimp and some of the broth, and serve it.
- Continue this process to serve the majority of the pot.
- Start another pot separately on another burner, possibly cooking & serving shrimp from it too.
- Pour the second pot into the first pot to preserve the ‘shrimp stock’ and ‘residual ingredients’ from the original pot.
- Continue to serve shrimp from pot.
- Repeat cycle.
What I think this does is provide a richer, more sumptuous, “OMG-I-must-have-more” taste to the broth that would probably be difficult to produce through initial ingredients alone.