Cucumber with Prawns
In this recipe, you can replace the chile paste with a small fresh red chili pepper, seeded and chopped.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 2 to 4
- 1 pound prawns, shelled, deveined
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- Black pepper to taste
- 2½ teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
- 1 egg white
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 green onion, cut into 1-inch sections
- ½ teaspoon chile paste, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Rinse the prawns under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place the prawns in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, ½ teaspoon Asian sesame oil, egg white, and cornstarch. Marinate the prawns for 15 minutes.
Cut the cucumber lengthwise into quarters (do not peel). Use a spoon to remove the seeds in the middle and cut diagonally into slices about ½ inch thick.
Place the sliced cucumber strips in a colander and sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over them. Let the cucumbers sit for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels to remove the excess water.
Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat until it is nearly smoking. Add the vegetable or peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add the prawns. Stir-fry the prawns, stirring and moving them around the pan, until they change color. Remove the prawns and drain in a colander or on paper towels.
Heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil in the same wok or skillet. When the oil is hot, add the minced ginger, green onion, and the chile paste. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic, then add the cucumber. Stir-fry for about 20 seconds or until the cucumber is heated through.
Add the shrimp back into the pan. Stir in the red wine vinegar and the sugar. Stir briefly to mix everything together and serve hot.
Prawn or Shrimp?
Prawns and shrimp are two different species of crustacean. If you look closely, you'll see slight differences in their legs and pincers. However, in cooking, the two are used interchangeably — what Americans call jumbo shrimp would be considered prawns in Britain. Whenever a recipe calls for prawns, feel free to substitute large shrimp.