Thursday, January 01, 2009

From the Kitchen of Mama Wong - Part 2

Prawns in Dark Soy Sauce

Sometimes I love to hate this dish - my mum, excellent cook as she is, misjudges the human limit on spicy and the end result is a lot of water and a bloated stomach. Stop eating the prawns you say? Not an option.

Ingredients -
Prawns (500g; I like to use those white sea prawns that go for about $16 per kilo)
Ginger (about 1-2cm thick would do)
Garlic (2 cloves)
Chilli Padi (3-4)
Spring Onions (1 batch)
Dark Soy Sauce (we use the Wor Hup brand; my mum swears by it)

Let's start!

Nipping Trouble in the Head

Prawns are great, but they've got spikes on their head and a single spear along their tails, so be sure to snip them off with a good pair of scissors lest you want to get yourself a tongue ring (or several) while eating. You'll be sucking the sauce off the prawn before you eat it (coz it's so good of course!) so cutting off the spikes would be a good idea.

Next you would want to de-vein the prawns by sticking a fork down the 2nd or 3rd segment of the shell and pulling out the disgusting black thing.

Wash and keep.

The Unsung Heroes

Seriously, these guys are under-appreciated. The trio of garlic, ginger and chilli padi have gone unnoticed in many of the dishes they feature in. I love em, so should you. Chop, chop, chop and get em all into a bowl for the frying later.

If you thought the trio was underrated, wait till you see the spring onion! Get these guys into cuts of 1cm and put em aside for the finishing touch later.

Stirring Up the Goodness

The first step to making great stir-fried prawns is getting all the moisture out of them first. That way they absorb all the great sauce instead of tasting like soggy cereal later.

Heat up the wok and toss in the diarmed and de-veined prawns. Cook till one side is COMPLETELY DRY (they'll be bright red and even a little charred) and then give the wok a little flip to cover the other side. You'll catch a wiff of the sweet fragrance of prawns when you're done.

Once both sides are nice and dry, take em out and put the prawns aside.

The Party's Getting Started

Fire up the wok and pour in some cooking oil. Once the oil reaches a boil toss in the unsung heroes and toss them around till you smell them well and good.

Once that's done add in the prawns from earlier. Toss those around and then add in about 1 table spoon of sugar (I say about because I'm used to estimating it; get used to this coz that's about just how most chinese home cooking is done).

Once the sugar's all mixed up with the prawns, introduce the dark soy sauce. About 2 laddle-full )I'd guess about 8-9 table spoons). Toss those around till the dark sauce is fully absorbed into the prawns.

The Finishing Touch

Here's the most important part - adding in the spring onions. They make all the difference so I decided to give them their own section.

So go ahead and add the greens in. Stir until everything is evenly mixed and you're good to go.

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