In the first book entirely dedicated to Macanese cooking, Abraham Conlon, Adrienne Lo and Hugh Amano of Fat Rice in Chicago, break down the blended cuisine that has roots in China, Portugal, India and Malaysia.
Chilli prawns like these can be found all over Macau. At Fat Rice, they’re served head-on and shell-on, stuffed with a mixture of garlic, chillies, cilantro, and fermented black beans. The word prawn can cause some unnecessary confusion—we use it here simply to describe large shrimp. Look for shrimp that are head-on, shell-on, extra jumbo-sized U-10 (meaning under 10 per pound) or bigger. We had one at Restaurante Litoral in Macau that probably weighed half a pound! Use your hands to peel and eat the prawns, and don’t neglect the heads! Place the open end in your mouth, squeeze, and suck all that good stuff out. It’s even better if you’ve got some good dry Madeira to pour inside the head for a boozy shot of bisquelike goodness.
- To make the stuffing, combine the fermented black beans, chillies, garlic, and cilantro stems in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Using a razor blade or kitchen shears, cut through the shell and flesh of each prawn along the back about halfway deep, starting at the base of the head through a quarter of the way from the tip of the tail. Remove the vein running along the back using the edge of the razor or shears and discard. Fill the space you just cleaned on each prawn with the stuffing.
- Heat a large pan with a lid over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is almost smoking, carefully lay the prawns in the oil and cook until the shell starts to brown and the flesh starts to turn pink, about 1 minute. Flip the prawns and cook for another minute, browning the other side.
- Carefully add the wine to the pan—it will spatter—and immediately cover with the lid. Steam the prawns until completely pink and fully cooked, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the prawns to a serving dish.
- Add the butter to the pan and swirl until melted by the heat remaining in the pan. Pour the sauce over the prawns. Garnish with the olives, green onions, and lemon and serve immediately.
Reprinted with permission from The Adventures of Fat Rice by Abraham Conlon, Adrienne Lo, and Hugh Amano, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.
The Adventures of Fat Rice