This is a delectable, saucy, savoury prawn dish that will have you licking all the sauces off your fingers, and off the plate if you could throw aside, just for a moment, all table manners and decorum! Yes, it is really that good, and what’s even better, very quick and easy to put together!
It is a classic Cantonese dish, which is no surprise, as the Cantonese are truly culinary masters at perfecting and excelling in the art of quick stir-fries and creators of fine sauces to accompany virtually any main ingredient – fish, pork, poultry, seafood, vegetables, tofu and even eggs.
The key to almost all good food, and particular to quick stir-fries, is to have the freshest of ingredients, premium or good quality constituent seasonings which go into the final sauce, advance preparation of cut or chopped ingredients and marinades, and last but not least of all, a very hot flame or fire to flash fry, and a pair of quick, deft hands.
HAR LOK (CANTONESE STYLE FRIED-PRAWNS IN SPECIAL SAUCE)
Recipe source: Singapore Heritage Food by author, Sylvia Tan
500 gm fresh Large Prawns, shells kept on
1 tsp Salt
Vegetable Oil, for deep frying
4 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 thumb-length Ginger, chopped or grated
4 stalks Spring Onion, chopped
1 tsp Corn Flour
2 tbsp Light Soya Sauce
2 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp Rice Wine or Dry Sherry
1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1. Wash prawns well and snip off whiskers and legs with a food scissor. Pat prawns dry with paper towels. Place prawns into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and mix well. Let stand for about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Fill a wok half full with oil. Heat up oil in wok until just smoking. The right temperature is important because the aim is to sear the prawns. Tip all the prawns (be careful not to tip in any residual liquid left in the bowl) into the oil. Gently move them around in the wok using a pair of long bamboo chopsticks or a slotted spoon. Fry for just a minute or so, as over-cooked prawns will turn tough and chewy.
Turn off the heat, and remove prawns immediately using the slotted spoon. Place into a basket lined with paper towels to drain.
4. Empty all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil in the wok. Reheat oil until smoking hot. Saute chopped garlic and ginger until fragrant, then return the prawns to the wok. Pour the sauce over the prawns, and quickly toss until most of the sauce has been absorbed. Toss in the chopped spring onions, mix well, and scoop out onto a serving dish. Serve immediately when hot.