I got this recipe at Cooks Talk and it's become a favorite of ours.
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined, patted dry
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons seeded, minced serrano chiles (about 3 chiles)
Rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
In a small pan over medium heat, toast the peppercorns, shaking the pan, for about 3 minutes. Do not let them burn. They may smoke and pop like popcorn; this is OK. Remove the pan from the heat; set aside to cool slightly. In a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle, coarsely grind the peppercorns. Combine with the salt; set aside.
In a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Working quickly, in a bowl, toss the shrimp in the cornstarch and remove the excess cornstarch by shaking the coated shrimp in a strainer. Add the shrimp to the wok and cook, tossing a few times to cook through on both sides, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the garlic, chiles, and pepper-salt mixture. Toss everything together for about 1 minute. Drain the rice noodles and toss them in the pan with the shrimp for a few seconds. Remove from the heat and serve. Drink cold beer.
1. The recipe originally called for 1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns and 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, but the latter are no longer available in this country, because of some plant disease they carry that destroys citrus trees here. I ran out of Sichuan peppercorns a long time ago, but this is still very good with just the white. White peppercorns have a milder flavor than black and also look nicer on white food, if you care about such things.
2. The original recipe didn't call for rice noodles, but that's the way I always serve it.
3. Be sure to wear gloves when working with these fiery chiles. One time I didn't, and even though I washed my hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water afterward, I managed to get a tiny bit of the oil into my eye and just about died from the pain.