Marilyn’s Blog

Spicy Spot Prawns with Tah Tsai

spicy spot prawns with tah tsai

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Spicy Spot Prawns with Tah Tsai

I cook this recipe all year around with tofu and any greens available, say with kale in winter, tah tsai or bok choy in spring and green beans in summer. Of course I used spot prawns to celebrate its season and that allows me to achieve the maximum flavour this recipe can ever get. Make sure you have a lot of greens on hand because they cook down to NOTHING!

Serves 3-4

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
A knob of ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon scallions or green onion, chopped
2-3 red chili peppers, seeds removed, sliced thinly
20 spot prawns, head and shells removed (or 1 lb silken-firm tofu)
3 big bundles of tah tsai (or more), cut in half or ¼ lengthwise

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cane sugar or brown sugar
2 tablespoons Chinese chili bean sauce, or Japanese miso for a non spicy version
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake, white wine, beer or water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper

3 cups cooked rice of your choice

Remove heads and shells of the spot prawns, then rinse and pat dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and the sesame oil in a wok or large cast iron skillet, gradually add the garlic, ginger, scallions and red chili peppers, and cook over medium-high heat until lightly coloured and aromatic. Add the sugar, Chinese chili bean sauce, soy sauce, and the sake, and bring to a boil. Add the prawns and cook until heated. In the meantime, mix the cornstarch and the water in a small bowl. When the prawns turn whitish and are cooked through, add the cornstarch mixture, stir well and simmer for a couple of minutes to achieve the thick sauce consistency. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Wipe the wok or skillet to remove any sauce left. Heat it with the remaining oil swirling around the side. When the oil is smoking hot, add the tah tsai and stir-fry constantly stirring on high heat. The key is to cook the vegetables on high heat for a very short time so as not to make them watery; they should still have a firm texture and bite to them. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve cooked rice on a big platter and arrange the tah tsai on top, then pour the prawn mixture on top.