This is a classic Cantonese restaurant prawn dish that is finger licking good because of the sauce coated with the prawns. It is sweet and tangy and savoury. It is aromatic because of its pan fried process.
Locally, there is another prawn dish that looks very similar to this dish, also sweet and tangy but more spicy. It is the well liked assam prawns aka tamarind prawns. I seriously believed that two dishes has food history relations.
Whereas locally used tamarind to get the tanginess, this dish uses tomato ketchup instead. Both recipes required prawns be pan fried first until almost char but the spices are rather different. Assam prawns uses lemon grass and chilli, this recipe uses dark soya sauces instead. If you are interested in the Assam prawns recipe, you can refer to this post: Prawns, Prawns, Prawns… Join Me To Cook Assam Prawns
The name of this dish is Har Loke. “Har” is the Cantonese way of calling prawns and “loke” in essences means pieces. I was told by some Cantonese friends that the original recipe of this dish requires big prawns be cut into chunks but will shell. However, as the normal prawns sold in Singapore are not that big, therefore, in my humble opinion, there is no need to cut the prawns but the decision will be up to readers.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 4-6 adults
- 500 grams of big prawns (about 30 grams per prawn preferred)
- 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon of of castor sugar
- 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce
- 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic , sliced
- 2 cm of ginger, sliced
- Salt to taste
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Put the tomato ketchup, castor sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and dark soya sauce in a bowl, stir until well combined. Set aside.
- For the prawns, keep the heads, cut the prawns into big chunk. If the prawns are small, you can omit the cutting into small pieces. Cut open the body using a scissor. Keep the shell and dried the prawns in a piece of kitchen towel.
- Put one tablespoon of cooking oil, pan fry the prawns until the external shells are reddish, dish out and set aside. Use the same wok, sauté the ginger and garlic slices until fragrant, add the sauces and cooked until the sauce boils. Add the prawns, stir fry until well mixed. The dish is ready to be served. The entire stir frying process shall use high heat and should take less than 10 minutes.
As this is a rather standard traditional recipe, I do not have anything to highlight to readers. I hope it will benefit those readers who are looking for this recipe. Personally, I prefer smaller prawns and there is no need cut into smaller pieces. This is because smaller pieces have a tenderer meat that my family prefer.
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