A few years ago when I was staying in Guangzhou,China I would hop over to Hong Kong for the weekend and it was during those days that I chanced upon a cooking program in Hong Kong hosted by the very direct, sacarstic and outspoken So Sze Wong (苏施黄). So Sze Wong who is a famous radio DJ is infamous for being picky about food. I was told by my Hong Kong distributor that growing up in a well-off family, she has basically acquired a fussy palate and truly knows how to eat well. (There is a difference between one who likes to eat and one who knows how to eat, 喜欢吃vs懂得吃)
The first series of her cooking program was known as "So" Real Time Cooking (一粒钟真人苏). In the show, So cooks unpretentious dishes that most of us would have eaten at home. Unlike typical cooking programs where ingredients were already pre-prepared, she does everything real time. With the 60mins timer ticking away, we will get to see her peel prawns, wash vegetables, pluck vegetables - exactly what you would expect to see if you were to sit in your mother's kitchen and watch her prepare dinner... It may sound a little boring but So, being the radio DJ she is would chat away while she busys herself with the food. The objective is to have 3 dishes sitting on the table at the end of the hour. I like the program because she actually imparts alot of tricks and food preparation knowledge that modern working ladies like us would never be able to pick up from cookbooks. In her program, you won't find recipes as she does not believe in measuring cups and spoons for home cooking but she is particular about the ingredients she works with. She uses only fresh sea prawns, fresh chicken (she would even reject frozen chicken wings) and to her, the supermarket is a place you go only for toilet paper and washing detergent.....
At the market, I spotted some fresh sea prawns and decided to prepare the prawn fritter dish I remember from her show. She referred to the prawns as Sea Prawns (海中虾) - I am not certain if this refers to fresh sea water prawns or to a particular species of prawns but apparently, this is the only type of prawns one should use in order to get a crunchy (爽口) texture in the prawn fritter. Other types of prawns tend to have a more mushy texture. For the less fussy, I guess any type of prawns would be fine. Possibly there are ways to treat the cheaper prawns to get a crunchy texture (e.g. treating the prawns with a little alkaline solution) but when good quality ingredients are used, cooking can become a little more fool proof... :) The fritters are definitely a keeper. The flavourful bouncy crunch from the prawn meat went well with the crisp crunch of the long bean.
It may be too much to spend $5 for the 6 little prawn fritters (not including utilities..haha) but while I can, I would like to eat well within my means... and may all of you get to eat well too...
Fresh Sea Prawns 300g
Long beans 6 pieces
Oil for frying.
1. Shell and devein prawns.
2. Use the back of a cleaver, slap down on the prawns to flatten and chop to mince.
3. Place minced prawns in a large deep bowl. Add salt, sugar, pepper and sesame oil to season. Stir well with chopsticks until a little pasty. Set aside for 20mins to marinate.
4. Dice the long beans.
5. Scoop marinated prawns with palm of hand and throw it vigorously back into the bowl. 'Slam' the minced prawns a few times until the minced prawns become pasty and gluey.
6. Mix diced long beans with minced prawns. Shape into small patties.
7. Fry patties until golden brown. If time allows, fry the patties over strong fire again just before serving.