I am preparing some fried shrimp now. The recipe requires me to boil the shrimp in a pot until most of the water evaporates. I did that and the shrimp is cooked, but some of the ingredients seem to have got stuck to the bottom of the pot and got burnt a little, so there is a slight burnt smell.

My first instinct is to take the shrimp out little by little and wash it in salt water to get rid of the tiny burnt particles and then proceed with the second step of the recipe, which is to roast the shrimp.

So is washing with salt water the right way to go or is there something better?


  • My first rule of thumb in these situations is to not try to loosen the stuff that stuck to the pan. Save what you can, then depending on how much was lost, you might try salvaging the stuck stuff to another vessel, and tasting to see if it's worth keeping or not. (if it was garlic that burned, you definitely don't want to risk mixing it back in with the stuff that didn't burn)
    – Joe
    Jun 14, 2017 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


I would think that would be fine, but keep in mind that rinsing is going to remove some of the flavor that you've cooked on to them. It is certainly safe, so long as the water is potable. I would even venture to say there's no reason specifically to use salt water. Looking at the recipe, it seems you're going to add more seasoning(and salt) after this step anyway. In addition to that, I always tend to cook with slightly less salt than a recipe calls for, so I can allow my guests to add salt as desired at the table. Always remember that you cannot remove salt from the food, and shrimp is no exception. That said, rinsing shrimp in cool/cold salt water is not likely to add a significant amount of salt to the end product, assuming you drain and/or dry them afterward.

*This is a segway to my answer, but it seems to me that the recipe is a bit misleading by telling you to boil them until "most of the gravy dries up". I would say you want to cook them until you have only a very thin layer of simmering gravy left in the pan. Continuing to cook until the gravy begins to dry up is what will result in greatly increased temperatures(hot spots) and charred particles. As long as you have water lining the bottom of the pan, the gravy should not exceed 212 degrees F(100 degrees C), and you should have a minimum of anything becoming charred. The shrimp itself would be likely to still undergo mild maillard reactions on the surfaces directly contacting the pan(which is a controlled precursor to charring).*

  • About the "boil them until most of the gravy dries up", I can now confirm that it's the right way to proceed with it. My family has done it for decades, and it not only turns out ok, you can also stop cooking it at that point of time, put it in a container and leave it as-is for upto ten hours without refrigerating it, and then refrigerate it and take it out for performing the rest of the cooking steps when you like. We used this technique when we needed to take a kilo of shrimp from Kerala (where it's very fresh) to another state in India when traveling by train.
    – Nav
    Sep 29, 2017 at 11:30

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