This dish relies on the freshest-quality seafood, and, for the sauce, I always try to buy fresh, Australian-grown garlic rather than the lower-quality imported product, which I find leaves too strong an artificial garlicky taste and smell, well after the meal is over. Make sure your deep-frying oil is clean and at the right temperature. Freeze the prawn heads and reserve for stock.
16 uncooked king prawns, about 800g
3 tsp cornflour
2 tsp water
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 tsp sesame oil
vegetable oil for deep-frying
Sweet and salty garlic sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp shao hsing wine, or dry sherry
5 tsp light soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1. Peel, devein and butterfly prawns, leaving tails intact (see step-by-step guide below).
2. Blend cornflour with water in a medium-sized bowl until dissolved. Add prawns, soy sauce, egg and sesame oil and mix well.
3. Combine sweet and salty garlic sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Heat oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Deep-fry half the prawns over a high heat for one minute. Remove from wok using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat process with remaining prawns and set aside.
5. Carefully drain hot oil from wok and wipe clean. Heat the same wok to moderately hot, add reserved sauce ingredients and simmer for 1 ½ minutes. Lastly, add reserved prawns and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds or until prawns are hot and just cooked through.
6. Arrange prawns on a platter and serve immediately.
How to peel, devein and butterfly prawns
1. Remove head from prawn with a slight twisting motion.
2. Peel shells and legs from body of prawn, leaving tails intact.
3. Lay prawn flat on its side and make an incision down its back.
4. Using the tip of your knife scrape away the dark "vein" and any innards.
5. Prawns are now butterflied, ready for stir-frying or steaming; butterflied prawns cook more quickly and evenly.
If you like this recipe, try Kylie Kwong's chilli salt and pepper squid with fresh lime.