What’s Chinese New Year without a prawn dish, right? I decided to try this simple recipe making use of chili bean paste, a spicy bean paste that’s famous in Szechuan cuisine. In Chinese it’s called 豆瓣醬 (toban jiang) and is made from broad beans instead of soy beans. This paste is easily available in Chinese sundry shop. I won’t be making Chinese New Year cookies this year but I might try my hand on huat kueh later. Will share if I achieve my expectation. My sis on the other hand might bake an old new cookie. It’s an old regular cookie recipe but we have not attempted it before so new for us. Will share too if she really did make it. So let’s go back to this prawn recipe which is very easy to whip up.
Cut each prawn along its back to expose the dark brown vein using a pair of kitchen scissors. Remove the vein and rinse with cold water. Remember to leave the shell intact. Dry the prawns well with kitchen towel.
Add prawns, ginger, garlic, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and stock (I use water instead because the toban jiang is quite salty already). Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Braise for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly. Lastly add the rice vinegar. When most liquid has evaporated, add spring onions. Serve warm with coriander leaves as garnish. That’s it. Easy huh?
Braised Prawns Szechuan Style
Adapted from The Chinese Kitchen by Deh-Ta Hsiung
300g uncooked and unpeeled king prawns with heads still attached
Oil for deep-frying
1 1/2 tablespoons chili bean paste (toban jiang)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
About 115ml stock (I use water instead since the bean paste is quite salty)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon spring onion, chopped
coriander leaves to garnish, optional
1. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut each prawn along its back to expose the dark brown vein but leave the shell otherwise intact. Remove the vein and rinse with cold water. Dry the prawns well by patting with kitchen towel.
2. Heat the oil and deep-fry the prawns for about 2 minutes or until they are bright orange all over. Remove and drain. Note: I personally did shallow frying on these prawns only.
3. Pour off the excess oil, leaving about 1 teaspoonful in the wok. Stir-fry the chili bean paste for about 1 minute over low heat, then add the prawns with the ginger, garlic, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and water (or stock). Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Braise for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Stir in the vinegar. When most of the liquid has evaporated, add the spring onions. Serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves if using.