This dish always feels a bit special to me – I can remember eating at my local Chinese restaurant as a child and this dish would arrive at the table accompanied by a flourish of steam and a beautiful garlicky aroma – so good! This is my version that I love making for my family and friends – I add some curly spring onion to give it my own wow factor!
4 spring onions (scallions)
16 garlic cloves
2 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing wine
½ tsp white sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
16 large unpeeled prawns/shrimp
16 bamboo skewers
1 large bamboo steamer
Finely slice the pale part of the spring onion. Reserve the green parts for later.
Pulse the garlic cloves in a food processor until finely chopped.
Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, the finely sliced spring onion and the salt and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until softened. Then stir through the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and sugar. Cook for a further minute. Then transfer to a small bowl. Stir through the sesame oil. Allow to cool.
Take the green parts of the spring onion and finely slice them lengthways to form long, thin strands. Place the strands in a bowl of cold water for at least 10 minutes or until curly. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
To prepare the prawns, remove and discard the heads. Use scissors to cut down the back of each prawn shell, making a shallow incision into the prawn meat (but don’t cut all the way through). Clean the back of the prawn, discarding the black intestinal tract. Take a bamboo skewer and starting from the tail end, thread the skewer lengthways through the body of the prawn so that the prawn straightens up. Spoon a generous heaping of the garlic mixture into the incision you made in the back of the prawn. Rest the prawn on a plate that will fit into your bamboo steamer. Repeat with the remaining prawns.
Trim the skewers with scissors if they are too long to fit in your bamboo steamer. Then place the plate of prawns into the steamer and steam over boiling water for 8-10 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink and opaque. Carefully remove from the steamer and top with drained curly spring onion.