The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook
For us, fresh whole prawns are best eaten in one of two ways: simply blanched, so you can enjoy their natural sweetness (see page 104), or intoxicated with flavour. This recipe is a fantastic example of the latter with its brazen use of garlic and char-kissed shells. You could also do this with peeled prawns, but we think it’s more of a fun challenge to unpeel them with just chopsticks and teeth… after you’ve unabashedly sucked off all the garlicky crust, that is.
© 2022 The Dumpling Sisters / Orion Books · Reproduced with permission. · The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook: Over 100 Favourite Recipes From A Chinese Family Kitchen. Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in hardback at £20, eBook £10.99. Photography by Paul Winch-Furness
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Use a small knife to cut down the back of each prawn to half its thickness. Pat the prawns dry on kitchen paper and rub in the salt.
In a small bowl, mix the cornflour and ½ teaspoon water into slurry and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or a large pan over a medium heat and stir-fry the garlic for about 30 seconds until the oil is fragrant and the garlic is just starting to brown. Immediately take the wok off the heat and scoop the garlic into a bowl, leaving any extra oil in the wok.
Pour the cornflour slurry over the salted prawns, toss to coat. Reheat the wok over a high heat until it is smoking hot and add 2 tablespoons oil. Put the prawns in the wok in a single layer and fry undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip each prawn over, drizzle in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sear for another 30 seconds, then quickly stir-fry until the flesh loses its transparency. Return the garlic to the wok and toss to coat the prawns before serving.