Steamed king prawnswith ginger, coriander, spring onion and chilli dipping sauce
EACH year the "Kwong Klan" expands. My mother has 10 brothers and sisters, as does my father, so for Christmas Day, mouths to feed usually number around 70.
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- 8 uncooked king prawns — about 550g in total
- 2 tbsp shao hsing wine
- Ginger, coriander & spring onion dipping sauce
- 2 x 8cm pieces (90g) ginger, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch spring onions, mostly dark-green ends, finely sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1 bunch coriander, stems and roots only, finely sliced
- ¾ tsp salt flakes
- Pinch of white pepper
- ¾ cup (190ml) peanut oil
- 1 large red chilli, finely sliced
The family feast is held in Sydney and my mother, her sisters and I spend most of the time bantering and cooking away in the kitchen. We like it no other way, delighting in the opportunity to catch up with one another and to spend time nurturing and nourishing. Although I am a 29th-generation Kwong, I am also three generations Australian; naturally my food reflects this. Most of my recipes draw upon my Cantonese heritage. Being Chinese, seafood is an integral part of my diet and I always insist on cooking with sustainably harvested Australian prawns. You could steam them the day before Christmas if you wish and serve them cold with the dipping sauce, as part of a picnic, or you could grill them on the barbecue instead. The typical-style Cantonese dipping sauce will keep for up to a week in an airtight jar and may be served with your other preferred types of seafood or chicken.
Peel, devein and butterfly prawns, leaving tails intact. Pound ginger, spring onion, coriander and salt to a paste using a mortar and pestle. Transfer paste to a heatproof bowl, then add pepper and mix well. Heat peanut oil in a small frying pan until moderately hot. Carefully pour over the paste, scalding the ingredients to release their fragrance and aroma. Add the fresh chilli, mix well. Meanwhile, in a shallow heatproof bowl that will fit inside a steamer basket, arrange prawns in a single layer and pour over the shao hsing wine. Place bowl inside steamer and position over a deep saucepan or wok of boiling water. Steam, covered, for about five minutes or until prawns are just cooked through. Carefully remove bowl from steamer, transfer prawns to a serving plate. Serve with dipping sauce on the side.
From It Tastes Better by Kylie Kwong, Lantern, $69.95.