Sesame Prawns with Pineapple
I had some fresh Pineapple leftover from my Thai-style Pork with Pineapple dish featured not long ago and I thought I would try and use them in a Chinese shrimp dish I have cooked before that features battered prawns (very large shrimp) coated in a thick sauce using honey and sesame seeds. For this experiment, however, I decided to make things a little lighter by not using batter to fry the shrimp, and to jazz the dish up a little with the pineapple and some of the flavor palate of Indonesia…
- 1 dozen large Shrimp (Prawns), shelled and deveined;
- 1 ½ cups Pineapple Chunks;
- 3 Scallions, sliced into 1” sections;
- 3 tbsp. Red Chili, finely slivered (or enough to suit your taste);
- 2 tbsp. fresh Ginger, sliced into thin slivers;
- 3 Cloves;
- 2 Green Cardamom pods, slightly crushed with the side of a knife;
- 1 small Cinnamon stick;
- 1 tbsp. Sesame Oil;
- 2 tbsp. White Sesame Seed;
- 3 tbsp. Sugar;
- 3 tbsp. Rice Wine;
- 1 tbsp. Light Soy Sauce;
- Salt and Pepper.
I used fresh pineapple for this dish but you could substitute canned quite easily. In fact, if you do, you might want to ‘riff’ on my basic theme and use the syrup from the can to make the sauce…
Heat your wok over high flame and add a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and fry briefly until the cardamom shell is just starting to get a little darker and the oil is infused with the flavor of the spices.
Season the prawns with the salt and pepper then stir-fry quickly until they have turned pink and then remove to a bowl.
Now fry the pineapple slices as well. The idea is not to stir-fry here, so much as to pan-fry each piece on each side so that they get nicely browned. Work in batches, if necessary, and when the pieces get done, transfer to the same bowl as the shrimp. At this point, you can discard the spices.
Add enough plain oil to the wok make 2 tablespoons (if necessary) and then add the sesame oil as well. When the oils are hot to the point just below smoking, add the ginger, sugar, chili shreds, the sesame seeds and the white part of the scallions and stir briefly until the mixture thickens.
Add the shrimp, pineapple, scallion greens, rice wine and soy sauce and stir-fry vigorously until the scallion greens are wilted, everything is heated through and the sauce forms a nice glaze. Plate and serve immediately.
This dish was really tasty, with the sweet and umami flavors balancing quite nicely. As for the heat, I misjudged the fiery quality of the Thai chili I was using and I was sneezing all the way through the meal. My wife, however, loved the spiciness and thought the heat was great. You may wish to adjust the chili quantity according to the type and your own pain thresh-hold. However you decide, though, the rest of the spices and other ingredients should produce a nice result for you…