Prawns Overdose


A few weeks ago, I bought a group deal voucher for a all-you-can-eat prawns offer for 2 people at the Auckland Fish Market. And along with the prawns you get free flow of salads, chips, garlic bread and dips too. $50 for a two hour seating period. Quite a steal if you ask me.

So Terry and I went. The verdict? Nice ambience, tasty chips and garlic bread, a generous salad spread and of course, prawns overdose! We did pretty well in two hours. I think we could have easily downed a kg of prawns each in addition to the salads, garlic bread and chips!

Fresh garlic bread, chips and dips

The salad bar - beans, pasta, potatoes, coleslaw and greens

Our first serving of freshly steamed prawns

It was a little chilly at the open-air setting but luckily the heater saved the day

Our second serving of prawns because we can!

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Prawns in Tamarind Sauce (Assam Prawns)


My granny used to make this dish and I always licked the plate clean. Even sucked the tamarind sauce out of the prawn shells. Perfect with rice.

May be I had too much of it growing up, I don’t really dig assam prawns anymore. But it is still one of my favourite dishes to make for dinner because it needs almost zero preparation. Un-shelled prawns works best.

Ingredients:

  • ~10 large prawns, shells intact or 12 – 15 medium un-shelled prawns
  • ~ 3/4 cups tamarind paste
  • ~ 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix tamarind paste, dark soy sauce and sugar.
  2. In a frying pan, heat cooking oil and pour in sauce mixture.
  3. Let it bubble gently until slightly darkened and reduced. Taste and add sugar or soy sauce to balance the acidity of the tamarind.
  4. Add in prawns, stirring until sauce becomes caramelised and reduced and prawns are fully cooked.
  5. Serve with hot rice.

The tamarind sauce is actually a clever way to camouflage the fishy smell of prawns that are no longer fresh. So next time, if you discover a batch of prawns in the back of the fridge/freezer which you totally forgot about, don’t throw them out, make assam prawns 😉

Butter Prawns


When eating out, this is one of the favourite dishes to order at Malaysian Chinese restaurants. Juicy prawns with flavoursome and spiced butter-egg “threads”. I have wanted to try this for a long time but never bothered to look up the proper recipe. Finally, last week, I decided to give it a shot. I looked up a few recipes online and came up with one that was simplest and suited the ingredients that I already have at home. A surprisingly short recipe for something that looks and sounds sophisticated.

Ingredients:

  • ~200g prawns, dried with paper towels
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 2 big tablespoons butter
  • 10-15 pieces of curry leaves
  • 1-2 bird’s eye chili (cili padi), sliced – optional
  • Salt and sugar to taste

Method:

  1. Mix egg yolks and milk in a bowl, set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a hot pan.
  3. Using medium heat, pour yolk and milk mixture onto pan slowly, stirring continuously like you do scramble eggs.
  4. Continue stirring until small firm grains form, continue stirring non stop with the back of your spoon or spatula.
  5. Add in curry leaves and chili, continue stirring and tossing (about 10 minutes).
  6. Add salt and sugar to taste, continue to stir-fry until golden brown (about 10 minutes).
  7. Add in the prawns, turn on high heat and toss everything together.
  8. Remove from heat and serve hot.

*Note: I used shelled medium prawns which were pre-cooked. However, I think raw prawns with shells intact would work better. If you are using these, deep fry them in hot oil until pink beforehand.

Butter prawns in restaurants are served with butter fine threads instead of grains like mine. Haven’t figured out how to do that, but this recipe works fine for me. I have also tried this with crumbed squid rings which were deep fried beforehand. It works just as well. Happy cooking!