If this recipe doesn’t make you mess your pants it’ll certainly mess up your shirt if you don’t know how to drive a pair of chopsticks…
Seriously (I use that word loosely here), it’s so good that I went out and bought a new camera and cooked it up again just so I could take photos of it and share the magic. Why a new camera? First, I realized that my pictures were looking like a sun faded menu taped up in a south facing window of a Korean restaurant. Second? I lost my camera a couple of weeks ago when friends took me out and got me all shitty for my birthday. Good excuse to step up from that Nikon “My First Digital Camera” I had…
OK! So last Sunday night I was thinking and it got all messy. I started out with “I want a monster truck!” and progressed to “How do they make colored concrete pavers?” then “Why do I have to use periods at all?” and “When am I supposed to take my meds?”. Somewhere around the point when the voices and I were singing the theme song to Gilligan’s Island I suddenly realized that my blood sugar level was getting lower than my box of wine and that I should probably put something in my belly. I had lotsa tasty veggies, plenty of oink, moo, and cluck, and hoisin sauce in fuck you quantities. Always wanting what I don’t have and seeking to make life more complicated than it has to be (lack of stimulation), I decided that what I really wanted was shrimp or prawns. I loaded up the Conestoga and the trusty, er rusty, shotgun, put on my body armor and Hello Kitty finger puppets, and rolled into town. I ended up getting some kickass 31/40 frozen prawns. They called ’em shrimp but saying prawns makes me feel all fancy like so that’s what we’re going with here.
31/40 prawns ain’t some oddball rifle cartridge, it refers to how many critters you get per pound. It’s about a medium size morsel of the size that you’d get in a prawn dish at a restaurant. This dish, if they served it, would set you back twenty bucks and you’d be lucky if there were more than 14 critters in the whole dish. These things only cost $6 a pound. They take a little time to shell but if you’re reading this drivel then you obviously have plenty of time on your hands…
Here’s a list of ingredients with approximate measurements:
Foxfur’s Hoisin Ginger Prawns
- 1 Pound frozen medium prawns (shrimp)
- 1 Pound sugar snap pea pods
- 1 Red bell pepper
- 1 Can baby corn, drained
- 1 Giant hunk (3 to 4 Tbsp) ginger cut into matchsticks
- 6 Cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 Cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp coconut oil (peanut, olive, or vegetable oil is just fine)
- 1tsp sesame oil (see above)
AND, think about serving it atop a bed of coconut rice (easy!):
- 2 Cups rice (almost any kind will do)
- 1 Can coconut milk
- 1 Cup water
There’s nothing too difficult about this dish. Don’t let the shrimp, umm, prawns, scare you. They’re dead.
One item that I highly recommend for any kitchen is a small rice cooker:
This one set me back ten bucks or 400 rounds of .22LR and will make 6 cups of rice at a time.
Dump 2 cups of rice in and add the liquids. The can of coconut milk will be 14 ounces or so meaning you’ll have to add about 1 1/4 cups of water to make 3 cups total liquid. I use light coconut milk having less fat but all the flavor. We’ll make up for the fat deficit by using coconut oil to cook the prawns with. My cooker seems to have a hitch in its giddyup when it comes to making this kind of rice. I plug it in, depress the cook lever, and it pops up in less than 5 minutes. I think it has something to do with the heat absorptive, refractive, thermoclinic or other fancy scientific termed properties of the coconut milk. I just take the rice pot out of the cooker base and set it aside for 10 – 15 minutes and unplug the cooker. I plug it back in after my prep routine is done and it comes out fine. For those not having a cooker, combine the rice and liquids in a 2 quart saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes. Set a timer or suffer burned rice. That’s why I bought the cooker. Something shiny always seems to distract me and I end up feeding the stuff to the cows and birds.
Next, dump the frozen shrimp in a suitable container and fill with cold water. Let it sit in the sink while you prepare the other ingredients and run some more cold water through it letting it overflow for a minute or so.
Get yer pea pods and rinse ’em all good like. Trim the ends off like so:
I don’t like the tough little ends and neither should you. The string along the edge is bad enough. The open ends allow yummy juices to infiltrate and infuse the innards with flavor. Now set them aside and move on to the bell pepper.
I learned a nifty way to prep peppers for slicing from a chef who looks like a serial killer that really knows his knives:
Pretty scary, no?
Slice or dice the peppers however you like ’em and toss atop the pea pod pile.
Now, the ginger:When you’re done with that, grab the ginger root. I like my ginger in matchsticks. It’s easier than chopping and dicing but still retains the promise of appendage amputation when done just wrong. The picture below shows the absurd amount of ginger I use.
Stand it up on end and peel it by slicing down the sides. Next, cut it into thin slices. Hold it between your fingers so that it stays together as you slice it.
Rotate it 90 degrees and slice it into matchsticks. You’ll end up with some that you won’t be able to cut into sticks. You can either mince these bits or smash with the side of the knife until you feel calm again.
Now comes the easy part that most folks think is the hard part but just takes a few minutes. Get out a bowl to put the peeled shrimp in, a bowl to put the shells in, and a straw for your glass of wine. I don’t like picking up my glass with prawn juice on my hands…
I bought deveined easy peel prawns. They’re sliced down the back when the crustacean wranglers devein them. If you buy undeveined ones you’ll have to figure how to accomplish the following steps. I’m lazy.
Grab the edge of the shell at the top where the head used to be and run your finger around to the other side of the neck. Gently peel the shell down towards the tail and grab any leg bits as you go. The shell is gonna come off above the tail, but, if you do it right, when the shell is down to the last segment or two you can grasp the bugger by the tail and pull it right off. The pic below shows one with the tail meat bit still intact and one without. Don’t worry if that bitlet gets away, you’re not missing too much.
M’kay. We’re done with prep and ready to move on.
Drop a teaspoon (or a tablespoon) of coconut oil (or whatever) into your wok or pan. Let it get all hot and melty like and dump in most of the ginger and garlic. Stir it up, keep it moving, and go for about 30 seconds. You’re infusing the oil, damn fine oil if you’re using coconut oil, with the flavors of the roots of the gods so that they will in turn infuse the critters of the gods with said flavors. Throw the shrimp in the pan and don’t let them sit. Cook for 2 minutes and set aside.
Heat up another teaspoon of oil and the rest of the ginger and garlic then throw the pea pods, peppers, and bebeh corns in there. Toss immediately to coat them evenly with oil and cook for 3 minutes or until the peas begin to turn a bright green color.
Dump the shrimp back in and go for another 2 minutes.
Pour the hoisin sauce over the whole mess and stir it in really well. Turn and toss to get the sauce all over and into everything. Cook for a minute or so. Pour it out on a platter or into a bowl or use your best Tupperware.
Mound up some coconut rice on a plate and carpet bomb it with obscene amounts of your hard earned prawny goodness.
Rather than prattle on about inane crap like I usually do, I’m gonna get me some leftover prawns, feed my foodhole, and go pass out…