Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Honey Walnut Shrimp (and pet barnacles...)

I’ve recently acquired a new and very unusual pet – a barnacle – in my collection of weird STUFF, and I would like to say that it is a surprisingly good companion to have around. I wanted to advocate buying one to keep with you, as there are many advantages to it. Most people looking for a pet usually want something flashy, like a killer whale or a dolphin, but once you look past the excitement of the big animals, there are a lot of things lacking that you can more easily find in a small creature like the barnacle. Here are just a few of the many perks:

  1. They will eat anything. Barnacles by nature live on a diet consisting mainly of plankton and detritus (neither of which is very hard to find nor very expensive). The term “detritus” covers a wide range of food items, so finding fodder for your pet will never be a problem.
  2. They will clean up after you. Like I said before, barnacles live off of a diet of detritus, so they are perfect for your home! Not only will they keep your place shiny and spotless, they will do so happily and willingly as well. Or at least so it seems…I still can’t believe anyone can find enjoyment out of cleaning…
  3. They are patient and very forgiving. Barnacles are pretty mellow creatures; they usually don’t have much of a temper, which can be great if you do. They are also pretty stable and dependable. They are great to come home to after a long day at work when all you need is a friend to anchor you back to solid ground. Now can you say the same of a killer whale?
  4. They can be quite affectionate. Don’t let their appearances fool you! Beneath their shells, many barnacles are actually softies on the inside, and some of them are hopeless romantics. I know, it’s hard to imagine…
  5. They’re always willing to listen. It is very rare for a barnacle to complain about anything; they are generally very low-maintenance pets to have around. No matter how you feel, how unreasonable or upset you are, or how often you complain, your barnacle will always be there to lend you a listening ear and soothe your ruffled feathers. There have been so many times when I feel like I have mistreated or taken advantage of my barnacle, or overridden its needs with my own selfish demands; yet, each time it has accepted me with nothing but patience and support.
  6. Some of them can be aesthetically pleasing as well. Some barnacles are quite pretty to look at, and they can be good eye candy to have around the home. Yet another advantage to bringing back this pet!
  7. Most importantly, they will stick with you through thick and thin. I initially found this concept very foreign and almost unbelievable. Usually, most pets stay with you as long as you have something to offer them, whether it is food or attention (or both). Like all pet owners, I try my best to provide these, but all too often, I do forget. And, like I’ve said, there have been way too many instances where I have treated my barnacle with less kindness or care than it deserves. Yet, every time, it comes back without fail, as forgiving and patient as ever. Barnacles don’t need much; all they require is a good surface to anchor onto, and after that, they will stay by your side forever. That’s something I’m still getting used to; despite everything, I find myself constantly looking over my shoulder, half-expecting it to up and walk away. But no, the little bugger is still there…

Other random facts about barnacles: they are apparently edible, and they are hermaphroditic. I don’t know what to make of either of these two characteristics o_O.

Anyway, I made honey walnut shrimp the other night. It came out pretty nicely, I suppose. For the full recipe, visit Rasa Malaysia.

Honey Walnut Shrimp (adopted from Rasa Malaysia) 

1 lb. 31/40 count shrimp/prawn
Candied walnuts (See below)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon condensed milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg white
1/2 cup corn starch (for coating the prawn)
Oil for frying
1. Peel and pat dry the shrimp. Mix with egg white and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
2. Add the corn starch to the shrimp and coat thoroughly.
3. In a large pot or deep fryer, heat the oil until it sizzles when you touch it with a chopstick/cooking utensil.
4. Fry the shrimp (make sure not to overcrowd them!), then allow to drain on a paper towel.
5. In a separate container, mix the rest of the ingredients (except the walnuts) together.
6. Serve the shrimp with the candied walnuts, and then drizzle the mayo sauce on top. You can decorate them with sesame seeds, too, although I forgot to do this.
7. Enjoy with rice and extra mayo sauce on the side.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
½ cup walnut halves
  1. Boil the water and sugar together on high heat until it starts to turn golden.
  2. Add the walnuts and continue boiling for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Pour the walnuts and syrup out on a tray lined with parchment paper (must be parchment paper, other types of paper will stick and make a mess!)
  4. Allow to cool. 

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