One thing I appreciate the most from Martin is that he will stand by what I cook and clean his plate, even if it’s not his favorite thing on earth. He will even dig deep into his heart and pay me a nice compliment, such as “This tastes good.”

Though he talks a pretty talk, we have scales to help determine true awesomeness.

It’s quite simple really. The scale is: “What is the frequency with which you would like to eat this dish?” Usually, the answer is a once a month, twice a month kind of thing. Then there’s “once every six months” or “once a year.” Not a good sign. 🙂 Every now and then, I get a “once a week” squeezed out between rapturous bites, which is the supreme pinnacle of flattery coming from Martin.

No, this was not a “once a week” dish. Though I very dearly wish it was.

Shrimps with Chinese Barbecue Sauce is something I have eaten my whole life and my dad is master of it. Typically, my dad will buy jumbo North Carolina shrimp and cook them with the peel on. He’ll make extra sauce, because he knows I love to mix my rice with it. Once I moved out of the house, I would regularly request this dish when I joined my family for dinner. And as many of you know, I am scarily fastidious (yes, I eat ribs with a fork) but would willingly get my hands dirty while eating this dish.

I have a whole ritual on how I eat these shrimp: I pick them up with chopsticks and fish them around in the sauce a little, to make them extra saucy. Then I dab off as much of the sauce as I can onto my bowl of rice (hey, I said I’d get dirty, not disgusting). Then comes the sticky part – peeling all the shrimp before eating. I would probably do this a good handful of times – getting dirty is one thing but getting dirty clean dirty clean is a completely separate issue – until I had a nice pile of shrimp in my bowl and awesomely saucy rice. Then I’d go to town.

I am telling you all of this to show you that I very much love this dish.

So one day, I decided I had to have it and called my dad. I asked him how to make this dish so I could make it. He did what he always does …

He gave me a list, followed by “Mix to taste!”

Super. Great. Awesome. Totally … not helpful.

Here’s the list, by the way:

But I missed barbecue shrimp so I decided to try anyway. I peeled all those darned shrimps first, because Martin is kind of a wuss that way. Then I briefly sauted them, just enough to get them pink. Then I grated up some ginger, finely chopped up some garlic and went to town trying to figure out how to make the sauce. (Obviously, add the shrimp in at the end to finish cooking. You just don’t want them to overcook while you get the sauce right).

I got something that was thicker than my dad’s version (I even thinned it out with water) and a little too sweet. But the right flavors were there. Next time, I’m going to add more ginger and not peel the shrimp. Martin needs to learn that unpeeled shrimp is not weird!

Also, it’s totally part of the ritual.