A stir-fried prawn cuisine is a form of dishes in China with great popularity, and a regular member showing up on the dining tables of large banquets or friends gathering. Prawn, with refined taste and protein-rich nutrition, is believed by Chinese diet therapy to enhance the immunity of humans and benefiting kidney, in the premise of regular intake.
The desire for prawns in China has increased ceaselessly in recent years. Complete industrial chains in prawn farming have been formed at present, the output of which not only meeting domestic demands but also covering foreign markets, thus building an exclusive advantage for the Chinese consumption on the prawns.
Stir-frying, probably the top of the famous list of the cooking methods in China, is applied in dealt with a variety of food materials, of which prawns stating no exception. Though being marked with high price tags, it still absorbs favors by a considerable number of dinners for its high nutritional value and excellent taste.
However, some of the restaurants are found to neglect the cleaning of prawn veins (prawn intestines.) Personally, I do mind it very much as it’s somehow a bit unhygienic. This article is written to teach on Chinese stir-fried prawns cooking, through which you would be able to enjoy the joy of home-cooking fried prawns, and the prawns’ veins (intestines) would be cleaned thoroughly.
How to clean prawn veins (intestines) before frying prawn?
There are many methods of removing prawn veins, the most common two of which are demonstrated in the following images. As the old saying goes, skill comes from practice; you would master the skills by practicing, and eventually improve the efficiency of cleaning prawn veins.
- Cut the back of the prawn with a knife and draw out the prawn vein by hand.
- A small tool will be required in the other method: a toothpick, which would be inserted through the back of prawn between the third and fourth sections, and be lifted upward with the strength to lift the veins out.
The two methods can also be combined, which means firstly cut the backs of prawns with a knife, and then pick out the prawn vein with a toothpick. Most of the time, the prawns are required to be prepared with cut backs, which helps the flavor absorbing of the prawns during the cook.
Spicy Stir-Fried Prawn is one of the most popular prawn dishes in Chinese restaurants. It has become one of my regular home cooking dishes since I learned its cooking method, which has earned plenty of praise from my family and friends ever tried it! Interest in getting some applause and praise? Come on, get through this recipe!
Chinese Spicy Stir-Fried Prawns Recipe
- 500g prawns (≈ 1lb)
- 300g potatoes (or cucumber if you wish to)
- 1/2 cup of edible oil
- 2 tablespoons of starch
- 1/2 tablespoon of cooking liquor
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 small piece of ginger
- 1 piece of stalks scallions
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 100g of dried chili (≈ 1/4 lb)
- Some coriander
- Some Chinese prickly ash
- 1-2 tablespoons of Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Paste, a unique local product of Pixian County, Sichuan Province. It is one of the essential sauces in Chinese cooking. You may get it from some Chinese supermarkets, and it is also available on Amazon.com. The alternatives are Lee Kum Kee Chili Bean Sauce (Toban Djan) or Lao Gan Ma Black Bean Sauce (Black Bean in Chili Oil Sauce.)
- Wash the prawns and cut off their antennae at the heads, which would give it cleaner looks. Most importantly, remove the black vein stretching at the back of the prawns, which refers to the intestines of the prawns, containing fully of unclean things. It is strongly suggested to remove it to avoid it affecting your appetite!
- Drain the cleaned prawns, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of cooking liquor, leave it 10 minutes for marinating.
- Peel and wash the potatoes while the prawns are marinating, cut the potatoes into long strips. Add a tablespoon of starch to the cut potato strips and stir well.
- Pour out the excess moisture after the prawns marinating, add 1 tablespoon of starch and stir well.
- Prepare seasonings, cut ginger, garlic, and stark scallion into slices, cut dried chili into 2-3cm segments, and chop the coriander.
- Pan-Fry the potato strips. Pour edible oil into a heated pan, and pour in potato strips after the oil is heated. Pan-fry the potato strips until brown and collect them.
- Pan-fry the prawns to golden color after the potato strips are pan-fried.
- Add appropriate oil to the pan, put ginger, garlic and stark scallion into the pan for 10 seconds stir-frying, then add Chinese prickly ash and dried chili for another 10 seconds’ stir-frying.
- Pour the pan-fried potato strips and prawns into the pan, and add Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Paste, salt and sugar to stir-fry well.
- At last, sprinkle coriander, and there goes the elegant Chinese fried prawn.
Tips: For those people who are unable to buy Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Paste or other alternatives chili sauces selling, soy sauce might make a seasoning to enhance the flavor, yet along with an according and necessary adjustment on the salt amount. Broad Bean Paste and some of the chili sauces are made with salt contained, which affects the amount of salt to be added into the dish. Attention shall be paid on to avoid making the dish too salty, and food-tasting is always a handy way.
Suggestions on the matching ingredients of Spicy Stir-Fried Prawns
Potato is the only matching ingredient listed in this recipe. However, the truth is that many other matching ingredients can make an excellent combination in the Chinese Stir-fried prawns’ dishes, such as cucumber (cut into strips), lotus root (cut into strips or slices), onion and celery. Pick and mix any 1-2 types from the list would work well as the matching ingredients. A personal suggestion for those who have mastered the cooking method and technique of this dish is to try more with diverse matching ingredients and make the best definition of your own. It’s a worthy adventure!
Spicy Stir-Fried Prawns might not be an easy course to cook as it contains complicated cooking processes. However, it has an unforgettable flavor, which made it one of the most popular prawn-fry-dish in China.
So, you might be wondering, is there any prawn-fry-dish with more straightforward cooking methods?
Here it comes one prawn-fry-dish, which comes in a more straightforward cooking method, being friendly for beginner-cooks and non-spicy diners, namely, “Be For Time Stir-fried Prawns.” In comparison with Spicy Stir-Fried Prawns, it also has an excellent reputation in China, and it is easier to learn.
Origin of “Be For Time Stir-fried Prawns”
“Be For Time,” originated from Hong Kong, China, is transliterated from the words “Typhoon shelter,” meaning “a harbor from typhoons.” Hong Kong is a port city that suffers typhoons from June to September every year. In 1862, the Hong Kong government built several harbors in Victoria Harbour against typhoons, of which the largest one is Causeway Bay, also being called “typhoon shelter” by the locals.
Since the 1960s, many fishermen from Hong Kong have gradually come to Causeway Bay by sea and commenced the catering industry. The fishermen won great fame by the unique cooking methods of fishermen. The word “Be For Time” was added to the name of the delicious dishes of theirs afterward, such as “Be For Time Stir-fried Prawns,” “Be For Time Stir-fried Crabs,” and “Be For Time Stir-fried Noodles.”
Causeway Bay has gradually prospered through years of development, and local delicacies have begun to spread to Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and mainland China. At present, “Be For Time” has evolved into synonym words for Hong Kong cuisine.
Be For Time Stir-fried Prawns Recipe
- 300g prawns (2/3lb)
- 1/2 cup of edible oil
- 1/2 tablespoon of cooking liquor
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 piece of stalks scallions, chopped
- 1 piece of ginger, 1/3 of which to be cut into shredded ginger for prawns marinating, and the rest are to be cut into pieces.
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1-2 cups of bread crumbs
- Wash the prawns and cut off their antennae at the heads, cut the backs of prawns with a knife, and clean out the prawn intestines.
- Drain the cleaned prawns, add shredded ginger, cooking liquor and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, leave it for 10 minutes’ marinating.
- Add edible oil into the pan and pan-fry the prawns to golden color.
Tips: Drain the excess moisture before pan-frying. Starch-adding is the best way, so is the utilization of kitchen towel.
- Leave approximate edible oil in the pan, pour the chopped garlic and ginger into the pan for 10 seconds’ stir-frying with soft fire, and then add bread crumbs and stalks scallions, continue to stir-fry.
- The bread crumbs shall not be stir-fried for too long. Prawns shall be poured into the pan upon the color changing of the bread crumbs, along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to be added, stir-fry it well before serving.
This prawn-fry-dish from Hong Kong has been popular all over China. It will be your best option if spicy doesn’t serve you perfectly.
The two prawn-fry-recipes listed above are both enjoying a warm welcome in China, of which the “Be For Time Stir-fried Prawns” offers greater ease in both ingredients preparation and cooking process, as well as fewer ingredients preparation. I would suggest you begin with a simple recipe, but no one could deny that Chinese Spicy Stir-Fried Prawns is the top selection for experienced cook and spicy-lovers!