• 1 pound medium shrimp (about 25 shrimp), head removed, deveined, but not shelled • 2 to 3 tablespoons tapioca starch or cornstarch, as needed • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black, white, or Szechuan peppercorns • 4 cups oil for deep-frying
Soak the shrimp in warm, lightly salted water for 5 minutes. Rinse in cold water, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly coat the shrimp with the tapioca starch or cornstarch. In a small bowl, mix the salt with the freshly ground peppercorns and set aside. Heat the oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit in a deep fat fryer, heavy saucepan with deep sides or a second wok (it is easiest not to deep-fry and stir-fry the shrimp in the same wok). Carefully add the shrimp to the hot oil, 4 to 5 at a time, anddeep-fry until they turn bright orange (about 40 seconds). Make sure the temperature does not fall below 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Continue deep-frying the remainder of the shrimp. Heat a wok on medium heat. Add the salt and pepper mixture and the deep-fried shrimp. Stir-fry briefly to coat the shrimp in the mixture (20 to 30 seconds). Serve hot.