I had a hard time trying to come up with an English name for this dish with the correct interpretation, as from literal translation, it is Salted Water Prawns (盐水虾).
This is one of the most common dishes you will find in any local restaurants in Shanghai, as well as in the surrounding Jiang Nan geographic regions. Cooking time is less than 10 mins, but the number one requirement is, they have to be LIVE prawns, otherwise the prawn texture won’t be as good as it should be. Other than that, you may use any types of sea prawns, river prawns, or shrimps in the market.
Before we started cooking, my mom helped to demonstrate how she cleans prawns, commonly known as the process to remove the intestinal tract, liver, and stomach. Instead of using a knife to slip along the back of the prawn, use a toothpick to poke through the shell and the flesh in between the second and third joint, pull the toothpick upwards, and there you removed the intestines. For the liver and stomach, poke through the top of the head, remove with a toothpick and discard all at once. Lastly, for home cooking, especially for families with kids, my mom removes all the sharp parts of the prawn head, as well as the legs, to keep the prawns in a more smooth silhouette.
Once cleaned, in a pan or a pot:
-bring water to boil, pour in all the prawns and poach for 40 seconds, drain and set aside
-bring water to boil for a second time and keep boiling for 2 – 3 mins, with ginger, spring onions, Chinese Wine, salt, brown sugar, and preferably some star anise, cinnamon, and peppercorn
-pour all poached prawns in the clear stock, cook for another 2 – 3 mins, depends on how strong you’d like the Chinese Wine taste to remian
-serve the prawns together with the clear stock, or as a soup dish
Hope you enjoy the original flavour, especially the sweetness of the fresh prawns.
Music: Walk In The Park
Musician: music by audionautix.com