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August 1999 Issue
The Chinese Way
by Philip R. Gantt
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Butterfly Prawns

In most Chinese restaurants, if you order butterfly prawns, you will receive prawns which have been dipped in a batter and deep-fried. This recipe is most different. It is best to select fresh large or jumbo size prawns for this dish.
  • 1 lb. large or jumbo prawns
  • Bacon slices cut in half (one for each prawn)
  • Bacon grease for frying
  • Sesame oil
  • Sherry
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. cornstarch or flour
  • Garnish, either Chinese parsley or chopped green onion
First, begin by cutting the bacon slices in half and place into a skillet to fry over medium heat. Meanwhile, shell the prawns and remove the tails. Fry the bacon, turning frequently, until it just begins to get crisp.

Prepare the prawns as follows: from the inside curve of the prawns, cut the meat most of the way through, leaving the thin layer on the back to hold the two sides together. Fold the prawns open so as to appear like a butterfly. When the bacon is ready, place one half of a slice onto the center of each prawn.

Drain most of the bacon grease from the skillet and add about 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Prepare the egg and cornstarch in a bowl by mixing. Dip each of the prawns with bacon into the egg mixture and place into the hot oil in the skillet, bacon side down. Fry the prawns until they just begin to curl, then carefully turn them over to complete the cooking process. Do not overcook. The prawns will be done when they have turned pink, and when the egg has become firm. Remove each of the prawns in turn as they are done and set aside on a plate.

After all of the prawns are cooked, return them to the skillet and pour in about 4 to 6 tablespoons sherry. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 2 minutes. Garnish with chopped green onion or Chinese parsley.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes
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