With summer’s heat peaking early this year, you sometimes find yourself in a predicament where you don’t want to cook, but you want to eat something nice and tasty. Grilling is not an option because it’s waaaay too hot to be outside tending a fire, and while you could take the easy route and go out to eat, what about those huge head-on prawns you just bought at the Asian store the other day? Luckily shrimp cooks very quickly, and this dish from Malaysia that I found offers little in the way of fuss and a lot in the way of flavor. After a quick marinade using typical Asian ingredients like rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil–stuff that you might even have on hand–you are in business after a mere 2-3 minutes in front of the stove.
I love this dish as well because it actually calls for head-on prawns, which are a personal favorite. I like to break off the heads and suck the juice out because it’s got a very distinct flavor, and I usually end up munching on the heads, shells, and tails as well. Try it! You might appreciate that added crunch. And I know you’ll like the sweet, savory, spicy flavor of this dish, which will be ready in no time.
1 lb. large prawns, shells intact
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
3 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
3 teaspoons rice wine
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 stalks spring onions, roots discarded, tied in a knot
2 tablespoons oil
¼ cup water
1 large red chili, chopped
few sprigs of fresh cilantro leaves
1.) Trim the feelers off the prawns, but leave the heads and shells
2.) Grind the ginger and water with food processor or mortar and pestle until finely ground. Transfer to sieve and extract as much of the ginger juice as possible. Stir in both soy sauces, rice wine, sugar and sesame oil. Add the spring onions and prawns stirring to mix well. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
3.) Drain prawns, reserving liquid. Heat oil in a wok. Add prawns and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the ¼ cup water, reserved marinade, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the prawns are done—about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with chopped chili and cilantro leaves. Serve with white rice.