Malaysian Chilli Prawns
By Chef Christina Arokiasamy
Main Image: Penny De Los Santos
Cooked in a sambal, this prawn dish gets an aromatic lift with fragrant curry leaves flash-fried together with garlic and ginger. Enjoy it with Chinese-style steamed buns or crusty baguette.
Cooking time: 30 minutes
3 tablespoons store-bought bottled chilli sauce
4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
B: To Cook Prawns
5 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
3-4 red chilli, finely chopped
3 sprigs curry leaves or half cup curry leaves
1lb (455g) tiger prawns, cleaned and shelled
½ cup (125ml) low-sodium chicken broth
C: Cornstarch Mixture
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1. Begin by combining chili sauce, tomato ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat a wok or a large deep saucepan over medium heat for 40 seconds. Add the oil around the perimeter of the wok so that it coats the sides and bottom. When the surface shimmers slightly, add the garlic, ginger, chilli and curry leaves. Stir-fry until fragrant and the garlic is golden in color, about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the sauce mixture into the wok and mix well. Allow the sauce to simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Add the prawns into the wok, and stir-fry on high heat, pressing the prawns against the hot wok.
5. Pour in the chicken broth, mix well and allow the prawns to cook in the chicken broth for 2 minutes over high heat.
6. Add the cornstarch mixture and lightly beaten egg. Stir-fry another 1 minute until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Pressing the prawns against the hot wok allows the meat to develop a caramelised crust on its surface.
Chef Christina Arokiasamy and cooking teacher has authored two cookbooks: The Spice Merchant’s Daughter and The Malaysian Kitchen. She is based in Seattle, USA.