Panfried Prawns in Soya Sauce

She makes mouth-watering cakes/desserts/sweets and drool-worthy savoury and spicy dishes too! A while ago, I was blog-hopping and I landed on a page that I saw the word ‘Teochew‘. It is a familiar word – it’s the region where my grandfather hailed from. As I am a half Teochew, when I saw this word, it made me feel connected to the author, Ju- the person behind the scene of this great food blog – The Little Teochew. Since the day I landed on her blog, I have been looking forward to checking out her newest posts. All her dishes never fail to whet my appetite! Today, I am very happy and honoured, to have Ju from The Little Teochew to share a delicious dish with us. Please welcome Ju!

Hi everyone! I’m really happy to be doing a guest post today for one of my all-time favourite bloggers, Lee Mei. I have been an ardent fan of her beautiful blog, My Cooking Hut, for almost 2 years now, and to be given this opportunity is truly an honour.

It might interest you to know that Lee Mei and I are fellow Teochews, and I wanted to share a dish that is somewhat reflective of our ethnicity. As some of you may know, “Teochew cuisine is particularly well-known for its seafood dishes and is commonly regarded as being healthy. Its use of flavouring is much less heavy-handed than most other Chinese cuisines and depends much on the freshness and quality of the ingredients for taste and flavour. As a delicate cuisine, oil is not often used in large quantities and there is a relatively heavy emphasis on poaching, steaming, braising and stir-frying.”

(Source: Wikipedia)

In addition, Teochews love our yellow bean, soya and fish sauces! As our food is seasoned only to enhance the natural flavours of the fresh ingredients, good quality sauces are essential. Many soya sauces come in standard and superior grades. I prefer buying superior grade ones because although they cost slightly more, the difference they make up in taste is huge.

Now, on to today’s dish. I decided to cook a very homely but delicious dish of Panfried Prawns in Soy Sauce. Chinese New Year is less than 2 weeks away, and since prawns are a must-have* at many dinner tables, I wanted to share an easy recipe that anyone can follow.

* Prawns in cantonese are called “ha”, which sounds like laughter (and therefore associated with happiness). Chinese serve prawns for that auspicious reason, in the hope of heralding in a joyous new year.

This dish employs a dry-fry method – no gravy, hardly any oil – and the prawns are cooked on high heat, almost to the point of charring. The shells take on a hint of brown due to the soya sauce … but if you really want more colour, a dash of dark soy will do the trick. Personally, I prefer to keep it light, so that the brilliant orange of the shells is still visible. It is important that the shells are kept on, for the heavenly aroma they impart to the dish. And yes, it makes the eating all the more finger-lickin’ good!

Lastly, do use the freshest prawns money can buy. As with all basic dishes, only the freshest will do, for there will be little else to mask the taste of stale ingredients. And now, you’re ready to cook!

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Panfried Prawns in Soya Sauce

Ingredients:

500g fresh large prawns
1 to 2 generous stalks spring onions, cut into 1-inch lengths, white parts bruised gently, green parts put aside
4 or 5 thin slices ginger
1 tbsp good quality light soya sauce
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (eg, Shao Hsing Hua Tiao Chiew)

Marinade:
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese cooking wine

Directions:

1. Prepare the prawns: snip off the the feelers and sharp parts of the heads. Devein by cutting through the backs of the prawns using a pair of kitchen scissors. Keep the shells intact. Wash and pat dry, then place into a bowl.

2. Add all the marinade to the prawns. Also add the ginger and bruised white parts of the spring onions. Mix and leave to marinate for about 10 to 15 mins.

3. When it is time to cook, heat up 2 teaspoons oil in a skillet. Pick out the ginger and spring onions that were marinated with the prawns. Briefly fry them first till aromatic, then throw in the prawns and the rest of the marinade liquid. Stirfry on medium high for about 1 min. The shells will turn orange and whatever liquids will cook off quite quickly. The aroma at this point will be amazing. :)

4. Add 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine and continue frying for another minute or so.

5. When there are no more liquids left, drizzle 1 tablespoon soya sauce over the prawns and add the remaining sping onions (the green parts) and give a quick stirfry before dishing up. The soya sauce will brown the shells slightly. If you like a darker colour, add a dash of dark soya sauce in addition.

6. Serve hot. The flavours would have penetrated the shells, providing a lovely contrast of umami against the natural sweetness of fresh prawns. Enjoy!