Sizzling Rice Prawns 鐵板稻蝦


For the prawns
  • 450g/1 lb raw prawns, peeled
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil (peanut oil;)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1½ tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
For the sauce
  • 100g/4oz green or red pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar or Chinese black rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp chilli bean sauce
  • 1½ tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 300ml/10½ fl oz chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp cornflour blended with 2 tbsp water to form a smooth paste
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
For the rice cake
  • 225g/8oz long grain rice
  • 600ml/1 pint water
  • 2-3 tsp groundnut oil (peanut oil) plus 1.2 litres/2 pints groundnut oil (peanut oil) for deep-frying
  1. To make the rice cake, wash the rice and put it into a 24cm (9in) wide, heavy-based saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down as low as possible, cover and cook for about 45 minutes. The rice should form a heavy crust on the bottom, but not burn. Remove all the loose rice - it can be used for making fried rice.
  2. Drizzle the two teaspoons of oil evenly on top of the rice crust and let it cook over a very low heat for about five minutes. The crust should now lift off easily. If it's sticky, add another teaspoon of oil and continue to cook until it becomes loose. Place on a plate and put to one side. Once cooled and dried, break into small pieces.
  3. For the prawns, use a small, sharp knife to split each prawn open lengthways, leaving it still attached at the back. Open the prawns out so that they splay open into a butterfly shape. Wash the prawns and dry them.
  4. Heat a wok until it is very hot and then add the two tablespoons of groundnut oil. When the oil is very hot and lightly smoking, add the ginger and stir-fry it quickly for a few seconds, then add the garlic and spring onions.
  5. After a few seconds add the prawns and stir-fry them quickly until they become firm.
  6. Add all the sauce ingredients, except the cornflour paste and sesame oil, and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the cornflour paste.
  7. Return to the heat and bring back to the boil. Stir in the sesame oil and then reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer.
  8. To finish the rice cakes, heat the groundnut oil in a wok or deep-fat fryer until it is very hot (CAUTION: Hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended).
  9. Drop a small piece of the dried rice cake into the oil to test the temperature - it should bubble all over and immediately come up to the surface.
  10. When the oil is hot enough, deep-fry the pieces of rice cake for about 1-2 minutes or until they puff up and brown slightly.
  11. Remove them immediately with a slotted spoon and drain them on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
  12. Quickly transfer the pieces of hot rice cake to a warm platter and pour the hot prawns over them, taking care as it may splatter. It should sizzle dramatically. Serve at once.