For me, sometimes it’s interesting to enjoy foods with hands. These prawns in toothpicks reminded me of bbq gathering with friends.
I like prawns and I also like playing around with various combinations of spices to obtain new attractive flavors and fragrances. This prawn dish particularly uses familiar spices to the Vietnamese food i often cook with, but I never knew it before. So I was very eager to try.
I was not disappointed since my whole kitchen was filled with pleasant smell. After cooking, the prawns were completely aromatic on the plate. And it was rare but I ate the equal portion as my fiance did. (normally he would eat a bigger serving). The prawns were so yummy and exactly to my liking.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 16 large prawns
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- several whole black peppercorns
- 1 star anise, broken into segments
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
- 1 tbs dầu ăn peanut oil
- 1 garlic cloves, chopped
- a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 tbs water
- 2 tbs rice vinegar
- 2 tbs light brown sugar or palm sugar
- salt, pepper, to season
- lime slices, chopped spring onion
- Peel the prawns, devein, leave the tails intact.
- Thread the prawns in pairs onto 8 wooden cocktail sticks or tootpicks or small skewers. Set aside.
- Heat a frying pan or small saucepan, add the chili powder, fennel seeds, peppercorns, star anise and cinnamon stick and dry-fry for 1-2 minutes to release the flavors. Leave to cool, then grind coarsely. (I used a mortar and pestle)
- Heat the oil in a shallow pan, add the garlic, ginger and shallot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until lightly colored. Add the crushed spices, season with salt and pepper and cook the mixture gently for about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the water and simmer, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes.
- Add the rice vinegar and brown sugar, stir until dissolved, then add the prawns. Cook or about 3-5 minutes until the prawns are just cooked and juicy.
- Serve hot, with lime and chopped green onion.