Kung Pao Prawns

Well, the UK has been pretty miserable the last week or so and even though we’ve seen the sun today (at least I think that what it was from memory), the weather is now coming from the North and therefore it’s freezing out there. I don’t think there’s been a worse year for weather has there? Ah, yes, last year…..

To cheer us up I decided to try something else oriental (in origin at least) with a bit of spice and came across Kung Pao Chicken. Another slightly Westernised dish, I got the general gist of the ingredients and put this together accordingly, but using prawns instead of chicken.  I don’t normally choose this sort of Chinese/Cantonese food, preferring really savoury dishes with black beans, or oyster sauces, that sort of thing, but I was pleased with this. I love the weird mouth tingling effect of the Sichuan pepper corns too.

I made this with a quick egg fried rice. The one issue with this is that you need to pre-prepare the rice and allow it to completely cool first, preferably in the fridge. So, and I make no secret of it, I keep a couple of those pre-cooked packets of plain rice kicking around in the cupboard for when I haven’t planned ahead or get in late. They’re generally a bit overcooked when eaten alone, but work fine in stir fried dishes like this or a Biryani. Anyway…

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil (2 is better, but I’m keeping it to a minimum)
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper corns (use a pestle and mortar, or bash under some cling film).
  • 200g large raw prawns
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 1 medium chilli, sliced. Take the seeds out to lower the heat if you prefer!
  • I carrot thinly sliced lengthways
  • 1 handful of bean spouts
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 small red pepper and 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • a handful of shredded cabbage
  • handful of cashews, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sweet chilli sauce
  • A dash of rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 spring onions/scallions finely sliced
  • Soy sauce and white pepper to taste.

For Egg Fried Rice:

  • 250g pre-cook rice or cooked and cooled (overnight in the fridge)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Few drops of sesame oil (optional)

Method:

Put the oil into the wok and get the heat on high until it’s smoking.

Add the ground Sichuan pepper and fry for a minute.  Put in the onions and soften, followed by the ginger, chilli and garlic (careful not to burn it). Pour in a dash of rice wine/sherry about a tsp of soy sauce and reduce a little. Add the prawns and when nearly cooked (only a couple of minutes), put the vegetables in. Keep stirring for a minute or two more then add the sweet chilli sauce and oyster sauce to warm through.

Take it off the heat and fold in the crushed cashews, spring onion and a pinch of white pepper. Taste it and add a little more soy sauce if you think it needs it. Place in a bowl, cover and keep warm.

Clean the wok out, add another tbsp of oil and get it super-hot again. Break the rice up and quickly stir fry it for about 5 minutes, pouring in the soy sauce after half the time. Finally, pushing the rice to the edges, make a well in the bottom. Pour in the egg, (so that it is in contact with the wok not the rice) and stir in the middle until cooked and slightly crisp, combining it with the rice once only set, otherwise it will just turn the rice soggy. Add a few drops of sesame oil if using, and it’s done.

That’s it, fast and delicious.

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