Chinese Seafood – Prawns in Tomato Sauce

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Seafood is frequently one of the several dishes at the communal style meal in a Chinese household, especially so in Chaozhou (Teochew) (潮州) homes. White steamed rice is the staple carbohydrate for this southern Chinese region of Chaosan (潮汕). The other communal dishes will be a clear soup (汤), a meat dish (肉) and a vegetable dish (蔬菜). If the household consists of 6 or more persons, additional dishes will be egg and tau foo dishes.

Most well known Chaozhou seafood dish is steamed pomfret with salted vegetables (潮州蒸鯧魚). That was served regularly in my father’s home. However, this Prawns in Tomato Sauce was extremely popular too. Its popularity can be attributed to the sweet and tangy sauce. Such an appetite stimulant. A quick and easy stir fry dish.

Some Comments About the Ingredients

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  • Prawns. If fresh prawns are not available, fresh cleaned squid cut into rectangular pieces or sliced fresh fish may be used. Click here for “Cleaning and Preparing Squid”
  • Xiao Xing wine. A good substitute is medium dry sherry. If neither is available, this ingredient may be left out.
  • Garnish. Cilantro and Spring onions. If neither is available, your dish may be served without garnish.

Preparation

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Step 1. Carefully remove prawn heads and shell the prawns, leaving the tail. Remember to remove the intestines as well with a toothpick. Some like to just use a knife to slit the hump of the prawn. Click here for  post on “Shelling and Preparing Prawns”

Step 2. Marinate the prawn with the xiao xing wine, cornflour, fish sauce and ground white pepper.

Step 3. Peel, wash and slice the tomato, ginger and brown onion.

Step 4. Prepare the sauce. Arrange all ingredients and serving plate near wok.

Cooking the Dish

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Step 1. Heat wok over medium high heat for a minute and add cooking oil.

Step 2. Add onions and stir fry to slightly soften onion, then the sliced ginger. Stir fry another minute.

Step 3. Add marinated prawns and cook till prawns start to change colour, stirring once in a while to evenly distribute heat.

Step 4. Pour prepared sauce over prawns and continue stir frying to further cook prawns and incorporate sauce. This should take another 2 to 3 mins.

Step 5. Plate, garnish and serve with steamed white rice.

RECIPE

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 200 gm shelled large prawns (about 450 gms whole prawns with shell)
  • 120 gm peeled and sliced onion (about half of an extra large onion)
  • 120 gm whole fresh tomato, wedged
  • 20 gm peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger root

Marinade (prawns, at least 20 mins)

  • 1 Tbsp Xiao xing wine
  • 1 Tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • Dashes of ground white pepper

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

2 Tbsp Oil for frying

Garnish

  • Thinly shredded spring onions
  • Some fresh cilantro leaves

METHOD (Preparation)

  1. Carefully Remove prawn heads and shell the prawns. Remember to remove the intestines as well with a toothpick. Some like to just use a knife to slit the hump of the prawn.

  2. Marinate the prawn with the xiao xing wine, cornflour, fish sauce and ground white pepper.

  3. Peel, wash and slice the tomato, ginger and brown onion.

  4. Prepare the sauce. Arrange all ingredients and serving plate near wok.

METHOD (Cooking)

  1. Heat wok over medium high heat for a minute and add cooking oil.
  2. Add onions and stir fry to slightly soften onion, then the sliced ginger. Stir fry another minute.
  3. Add marinated prawns and cook till prawns start to change colour, stirring once in a while to evenly distribute heat.
  4. Pour prepared sauce over prawns and continue stir frying to further cook prawns and incorporate sauce. This should take another 2 to 3 mins.
  5. Plate, garnish and serve with steamed white rice.

Suggestions for complimentary dishes

Depending on the number of people and their dietary preference, suggestions of accompanying dishes are listed below. HINT: Try to use those ingredients that are currently in the fridge, freezer or larder. A sample weekly marketing check-list can be found here, click.

Chinese Soups

1. Jin Hua Ham and Winter Melon Soup. Click here.

2. Lotus Root, Peanut and Pork Ribs. Click here.

3. Radishes and Dried Squid. Click here.

4. Pork Stomach with Peppercorn. Click here

5. Tang Ho with Fishballs. Click here

6. Watercress and Red Dates. Click here.

Seafood dishes

1. Fried Fish with Fermented Black Bean Sauce. Click here.

2. Stuffed You Tiao (Baked).  Click here.

Meat dishes

1. Beef Rendang (spicy). Click here

2. Singapore Curry Chicken (spicy). Click here.

3. Quick Braised Sea cucumber, Chicken and Mushroom. Click here.

4. Cha Siu Pork. Click here.

5. Chicken Adobo. Click here.

6. Chicken Breast with Ketchup. Click here.

7. Pari Pari style Chicken Wings. Click here.

Vegetable Dishes

1. Broccoli and Meat/Tofu Stir Fry. Click here.

2. Spinach in Broth with 3 types of eggs. Click here.

3. Pork, Spinach and Egg Stir Fry. Click here.

4. Shanghai Cabbage with Oyster Sauce & Garlic. Click here.

Try a little fusion addition with these complimentary Japanese dishes.

1. Chawan Mushi. Click here.

2. Simmered Pumpkin. Click here.

3. Tofu no Shira-ae. Click here.

4. Yawata Maki. Click here

Dessert

A plate of cold, freshly cut seasonal fruits is always appropriate. Perhaps you had time to make a dessert like one of the several listed below?

1. Almond Jelly + Longans Click here.

2. Coconut Jelly with Can Lychees. Click here.

3. Sweet Potato Dessert Soup. Click here.

4. Sago Pudding. Click here.

5. Orange Agar Agar. Click here.

6. Caramel Custard. Click here.

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