Thai prawns

I love Thai food. It is fresh, light and full of flavours.

When I first came to London, i was not even aware of what Thai cooking was but luckily for me, Brits returning from cheap trips to Thailand created a demand on their return. Everyone became interested. It sort of felt reminiscent of the Victorian times, when men would return from the Indian campaigns with Chefs that’d cook curry for their friends.

The first time i ever tried it was when , after roller blading around the serpentine, a Chinese friend from university, Chi, introduced me another one of his Chinese friends, Li, and we went for lunch. She suggested to meet at the Churchill arms, in Church Street between Notting Hill Gate and Kensington High Street for a Thai. I still remember the green curry I had. It was lovely.

This dish, i have wanted to share for a while and is generally accompanied by rice, however, as you can see in the image, noodles were at hand the day i photographed it. In my personal opinion, rice works best. Thai cooking uses Jasmine rice, lighter even than Basmati, but still a long grain. I normally use Basmati because there are only so many rice types a girl can have…. And three is my number: Basmati, Japanese and Italian/Spanish.

Cooking time: 10 min prep + 15 minutes cooking
Quantity: This mix makes 2 portions

Tips:

1. Use uncooked prawns and if they are frozen, make sure you properly defrost them before cooking as it is a quick process and you don’t want to get food poisoned.

2. Remove the black vein at the back of the prawn by making a cut in the centre of the back.

3. If you start from prawns which have the shell on, you may want to leave the tail on. You could even use the recipe , without the rice, in a more informal setting such as a buffet or bite size canapé.

Ingredients:

450 gr peeled uncooked prawns, cleaned.
Vegetable oil
1 large shallot, sliced
2 large garlic cloves crushed
1 cm (cubic) of ginger shredded very finely
1 red birds eye chilli, finely sliced
2 table spoons of sweet chilli sauce
2 table spoons of fish sauce
2 table spoons of cold water
1 flat teaspoon of corn flour
10 leafs of basil
two tea spoons of black sesame seeds, roasted
Half a lemon or lime

Cooking Instructions:

In a pan prepare the rice. See the salmon teriyaki recipe for the “how to” on rice.

It is best if you work with a hot pan so make sure that you are well on the way with the rice before you start. In a pan (a wok would be ideal) heat 3 table spoons of oil and add the shallot, garlic, ginger and chilli.

In a bowl mix the chilli and fish sauces and the water with the corn flour.

When the shallots begin to brown, add the prawns. As those change colour and begin to curl add the sauce on it and stir it for a couple of minutes. The sauce will both evaporate and thicken. When the mix has reached a thick rich texture, add the basil and stir for half a minute only.

You are ready to serve up.

Top up the dish with freshly roasted black sesame seeds (good for your kidneys, apparently) and squeeze a quarter of a lemon or lime if you rather over it.

(If you choose to use noodles, cook them in boiling water, cool them in cold water and add them on to the pan as you add the sauce in order to heat them up)

Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Recipe by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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