It's been more than 5 months, I had a part-time assistant or helper to do some chores at home. What amazed me was she managed to get very good (and cheaper too) some of my favourites from the local fresh market. I bet she's very good at haggling the prices! Frankly, I used to spend a lot buying food from supermarkets, which has little or no choice at all except imported produces which doubled the price (sometimes ridiculously) and such items had short shelf-life by the time they reached their destinations. Since I employed her, my expenditure for food reduced :-) but I still spend some hefty sums for quality wine or cheeses :-(
Few days ago she bought for me some fresh medium Tiger Prawns for only 3.10 € which made me grinned and thinking of ways how to eat these prawns. Btw, that price is for 1 kg and varies from day to day. Sometimes, when it's heavy rain, seafood are slightly more expensive. When the price is good, she would buy some for me to freeze, so that I could cook on other days when she's not working for me. No wonder, some of my neighbors seek her help to buy vegetables and particularly seafood! :-D
For this dish, it's important to know that a very high heat is used to avoid over cooking of seafood yet maintain its succulent and firm shape. Some foodies called it as springy, bouncy or 'QQ' texture that when you bite into these prawns, you can taste the bursting sweetness of fresh prawns and the marinades. You need to practice 'mise en place' if you're going to cook this stir-fry method which worth the effort. Now, let's wok away with this recipe...
Spicy Chilli-Garlic Prawns
500 g Large Prawns (like King Prawn or Tiger Prawn)
For the Sauce/Gravy:
50 ml Soy Sauce
30 ml Rice Vinegar
2 tsp Sesame Oil
30 g Tomato Ketchup
2 tsp Raw Sugar
1 tsp Cornflour
2 Tbl Cooking Oil (like Corn, Peanut, Palm or Canola)
2 cloves Garlic - minced
1 Tbl Fresh Ginger - minced
1 nos Fresh Red Chilli seeded and minced (you can also use Jalapeño or Bird's Eye Chilli)
1 stalk Spring Onion - sliced thinly
1. For the Sauce: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until sugar and cornflour dissolve.
2. Heat a pan or wok over high heat until you see some smoke coming out. Add 1 Tbl of the cooking oil. Add in the prawns and sear until browned on both sides (about 1 minute or so on both sides). Remove the prawns from the pan. Set aside.
3. With the same pan, turn up the heat on high and add in the rest of the cooking oil. Add in the garlic, ginger, chilli and half of the sliced spring onion. Stir for awhile until fragrant.
4. Add in the sauce mixture and give a quick stir until it starts to bubble.
5. Add the seared prawns and continue to stir-fry until cooked and the sauce thickens slightly. Dish out into a platter and garnish with the remaining sliced spring onion. Serve with hot steamed rice!
Tip: Before start cooking, prepare the other stir-fry ingredients mise en place because you will cook in very high heat and fast. The ingredients for stir-fry have to be within your reach so that the dish not only cooks fast but not over done. This method ensures your seafood stays firm and succulent. If using vegetables, stays crunchy and maintain its color and taste.