This recipe for Szechuan prawns serves 2 1/2 - 3 as a main dish with rice and a vegetable, or 3 - 6 as part of a multicourse meal.
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- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 pound raw prawns, deveined
- 1 scallion (green onion), chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon hot bean sauce (Toban Djan)*
- 2 tablespoons ketchup (catsup)
- 3 tablespoons chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
- 2 1/2 cups peanut or vegetable oil
Preparation:If the prawns are frozen, thaw by running them under cold running water until thawed. Pat dry with paper towels. Remove the shells from the prawns, (you can leave the tails on if desired)
. In a bowl, stir together the egg white, salt, and cornstarch. Add the prawns, stirring until they are coated in the velveting mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Prepare the other ingredients while the prawns are marinating: chop the scallion, garlic, and ginger. In a small bowl, combine the hot bean sauce (Toban Djan) and ketchup. In a separate small bowl, stir together the chicken broth, rice wine and the sugar.
Heat 2 1/2 cups oil in the wok over medium heat. Have the bowl of prawns ready by the stove. When the oil reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the wok from the heat and add the prawns, stirring to separate. Cook the prawns briefly, until they just turn pink. Drain on paper towels or in a colander.
Remove all but 1 tablespoon oil from the wok, or clean out the wok if needed and heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger, and scallions. Stir for about 15 seconds, until aromatic, then add the hot bean sauce and ketchup. Stir briefly, then give the chicken broth and sugar mixture a quick re-stir and add it into the pan. Allow to boil for a few seconds, then add the prawns back into the pan. Stir briefly to mix the prawns in the sauce. Serve Szechuan prawns hot over rice.
* Hot bean sauce (Toban Djan) is a fermented paste that combines hot chilies with broad beans, also called fava beans. Several brands can be found in Asian markets, including Lee Kum Kee's "Chili Bean Sauce."
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