Shrimp in Fermented Lychee Hot Sauce

By Michelle Chang 張怡

Michelle Chang was born in Taiwan in 1967. In 2012, she moved to France, and in 2017, opened her restaurant, La 5ème Saveur. Her cuisine is a revisitation of French cuisine through fermentation. She is also a writer and columnist for a Taiwanese health magazine.

The lychee fruit is native to southern China and was also known as the “Chinese cherry”. It has a sweet and sour taste and became a very popular fruit. In Taiwan, from May onwards, you can see fruit trucks on the roadside with bunches of lychees. After having moved to France, I again found lychees, but the varieties of lychees from Madagascar are not like those from Taiwan, each one having much less pulp.

The most well-known fan of lychee was “Yang Guifei 楊貴妃”, the princess consort of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. When the lychee season came, the Emperor Xuanzong of Tang would send his inspectors riding horses to bring the lychees to the capital day and night to keep them in the freshest condition.

As to why Yang Guifei prefers lychee? Later generations speculated that the lychee is rich in vitamin C, which could make your skin beautiful, and in the Tang Dynasty, people liked women to have a plump body, the high carbohydrate content of the lychee provided a lot of calories.

Lychees have a very short shelf life and must be stored at low temperature for 3-5 days, but if stored too long, the aroma and flavor will be lost. Lychees are widely used in cooking, not only fresh, but also preserved in syrup. It is a good ingredient for desserts, drinks, or with bread.

Because of its lighter flavor and even Rose-like or Osmanthus fragrans-like aroma, it is very suitable for both raw and cooked seafood. Lychee contains a variety of essential amino acids, through the fermentation effect, more amino acids can be accessible. The high sugar content of lychee speeds up the fermentation process. The use of orange juice as the liquid in this fermented hot sauce also provides carbohydrate, making it a completely natural sweet-and-sour sauce.


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For 4 Servings

1 cup Carnaroli rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of EV Olive Oil
½ glass of white table wine
1 pint chicken stock preprepared (or vegetable stock)
1 cup rinsed blueberries
1 cup roasted chestnuts or more, chopped in big pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese (optional)