This dish was delicious. Absolutely wonderful. The amalgamated flavours and taste of the blackpepper and garlic brought this dish up by many levels. Once you take a bite of the prawns, you would be able to understand why this dish was so worth the while. And it is simple to make, no fuss at all!
I attempted to make this dish some time last year and felt that a lot of things were missing. For one, I added only a pinch of blackpepper and garlic, because the guy didn’t like garlic and the boy couldn’t take too much heat from the blackpepper. The prawns turned out lacklustre and disappointing, almost like any other ordinary stir-fried plates of prawns. It just looked wrong and tasted wrong. So I took note to try again, and to do it right this time. I added a lot of blackpeppers, enough for the twenty big prawns that I brought back from the supermarket; I chopped up a lot of garlic. I added them all together and I could SMELL it was right this time while they sizzled in the pan. MMMMmmmmmm… indescribable. It smelt right this time!
In any case, both the guy and the boy survived the prawns. It’s quite easy to remove the cracked peppercorns and garlic from the prawns too, such that the tastes of them do not get too overwhelming for those who do not like them. The gravy was delicious on the rice too – thick and savoury. So were the lettuce leaves which completely soaked up the gravy.
I am definitely whipping this dish up again soon!
- Large prawn: 20, deshelled and deveined
- Fish sauce: 1 tbsp + 2 tbsp
- Ground white pepper: 1/2 tbsp
- Lettuce: few slices
- Butter: 2 tbsp
- Garlic: 2 cloves, finely chopped
- Black peppercorns: 2 tbsp, crushed
- Water: 100ml
- Cornstarch mixture: 1 tbsp cornstarch + 4 tbsp water
- Marinate prawns with 1 tbsp fish sauce and ground white pepper for 1hr.
- Arrange lettuce on a plate. Set aside.
- Heat butter in pan. Saute garlic and black peppercorns till fragrant.
- Add in prawns, water and 2 tbsp fish sauce. Simmer 5min.
- Add in cornstarch mixture. Mix quickly and dish out onto lettuce to serve.
You can leave the tails intact (optional) as this would make the presentation of the dish a lot nicer, especially if you have guests at home.
Do not cook the prawns for longer than necessary as they will turn tough if they are overcooked.
This recipe was kindly adapted from Quentin Pereira’s Eurasian Heritage Cooking.
3 – 4 persons as side dish