Kung po-style prawns

Food, foodie, prawns, Chinese, takeaway, fakeaway, kung po, homecook, besthomecook, recipe

Another sticky, spicy takeaway-style dish: this time, with prawns, but it works brilliantly with chicken pork or vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli.

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This might not be authentic but it is a speedy and highly addictive dish: perfect with a veg stir-fry as a full meal, but it is also great to pop the glazed prawns onto cocktail sticks to serve with drinks. I sometimes stir in some sesame seeds at the end along with a scattering of spring onions just before serving.

I made a very short video of these prawns finishing in the pan: I must mention the sounds as they sizzle away. The video can be seen on my Twitter feed here

The trick with this dish is to coat the prawns in spiced flour, cook them to give a crust and finally add to a bubbling sauce to give them a fabulously sticky glaze. The flour gives a nice crispness that takes on the flavour of the glaze while still having a great texture. The sauce can be made well in advance to be chilled or frozen.

Recipe: Kung po prawns – serves 4

  • about 20 large king prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
Kung po sauce:
  • about 1” piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 200ml pineapple juice
  • 50ml water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato pureé
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour

(1) To make the sauce, add the sauce ingredients (apart from the cornflour) to a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

(2) Mix the cornflour with a little cold water and add to the sauce, stirring all the time and letting it simmer for 2-3 more minutes. You will now have a thickened, glossy sauce.

(3) Mix the prawns with the garlic, lemon zest and soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. If you have time, chill for a few hours to marinate to give an even better flavour, but this is not essential.

(4) Sprinkle the flour, salt and pepper over the prawns and toss the prawns in the spiced flour so they get nicely coated. Remove the prawns and place onto plates until you are ready to cook them.

(6) To cook the prawns you can pan-fry them in a little oil for about 7 minutes, turning them after a few minutes; deep-fry them for about 4-5 minutes or, as I did here, pop in the air-fryer at 200°C for about 7-8 minutes. You want the outside to form a crust.

(7) Add the sauce to a large pan or wok and bring back to the boil. Carefully add the prawns and toss gently in the bubbling sauce for about a minute. Serve – and please enjoy!

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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