This is our favorite recipe for shrimp cocktails at the Chateau.  It comes from my favorite Asian cooking blog  It is simple to make and the shrimp take on a slight flavoring from the poaching liquid, but the sauce is top notch and one we don’t think you can go wrong with serving guests, as they are sure to love it as much as we do.

for the shrimp
1 lbs. extra large shrimp with shells
4 C. water
1 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 whole cilantro plant (leaves, stems and root)
1″ knob of ginger sliced thin
1 Serrano chili
lime peel
1/2 C. sake

for the cocktail sauce
1 small tomato cut into 1/4″ cubes
1/2 C. stewed tomato puree (tomato sauce in the US)
2 Tbs. Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. wasabi

Remove the shells from the shrimp being careful to leave the tail intact. Devein the shrimp by cutting a slit all the way down the back side (opposite where the legs were), and removing any brown stuff. Put the shells in a large saucepan along with the water, sugar, salt, cilantro, ginger, chili and lime peel. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes then strain the the stock.

Add the strained stock back into the pan along with the sake and boil for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol in the sake. Add the shrimp to the hot stock, cover, then turn off the heat. depending on how large the shrimp are, they will need to poach anywhere from 8-10 minutes.

When the shrimp are cooked, plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and refrigerate until you are ready to serve (up to one day).

For the cocktail sauce, put all the tomato, tomato puree, Thai Chili sauce, and fish sauce in a nonreactive pan and simmer over low heat until the tomatoes have mostly disolved into the sauce (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and all the cocktail sauce to come to room temperature. Add the lime juice and wasabi and stir well to make sure there are no clumps of wasabi. Chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

To serve, put a small bowl in the middle of a large plate, add the cocktail sauce to the bowl and lay the shrimp around the bowl.