I first cooked this dish at a cooking class at the Seafood School with my mother Ellen, around 2003. The teacher was Mark Jensen, the head chef at Red Lantern, and I swear, I became infatuated with this dish and cooked it a dozen times for different friends: Rob and Jill, Giles and Nat… even Aaron and Nilhan.
And of course my Nat one winter’s Sunday night where it hit the right note!
It is rich, hot and striking and with fresh prawns, coriander and spring onion, knocks the socks off of unsuspecting guests. I still have the recipe printout from the Seafood School, though I rediscovered it after buying the Red Lantern cookbook a few years back; this should become a staple for you.
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 bird’s eye chillies, chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
12 jumbo king prawns, peeled, deveined, with tails intact
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons fish sauce
3/4 cup (185ml) fish stock
1/2 very ripe tomato, diced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 small handful coriander leaves
- Add the oil, garlic and chilli to a wok over medium heat and stir until fragrant but not coloured.
- Add the tomato paste. Prawns and sugar. Toss to combine.
- Add the pepper, fish sauce, fish stock and diced tomato.
- Increase the heat, bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes or until the prawns are cooked through.
- Remove the prawns to a serving planner, reduce the sauce slightly (the sauce starts to take on a slight syrupy texture) and pour over the prawns.
- Garnish with the spring onion and coriander.