Steamed Drunken Prawns
Drunken prawns (醉虾) is a dish which is unbelievably cheap and easy to prepare at home, but if you were to order it at the restaurant, be prepared to pay at least three times (but usually more) more than it would cost you to prepare it at home. Seafood is always so expensive when it is ordered outside.
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If you think that it’s cruel to use live prawns, you can substitute with non-live ones. In my opinion, the key to delicious drunken prawns is to “marinade” them when they are still alive. My (unproven) theory of why Chinese restaurants use live prawns, is that the prawns will ingest some of the wine, hence the wine aroma is deep within the prawns, else the aroma of the Chinese wine is kind of on the surface only. In the case of live prawns, I think the taste is more distinct and sweeter.
If you are looking for affordable live prawns in Singapore, refer to this post :)
- 10 live prawns (some call them shrimps)
- 3 tbsp Chinese wine (Hua Diao Jiu 花雕酒 or Shao Xing Jiu 绍兴酒)
- a handful of wolfberries
- 3 thick spring onion stalks (the bottom white part)
- 3 to 5 slices of ginger
- spring onions (cut to wispy thin strips) and coriander
1. Place prawns in a deep vessel with lid (I use my 4.2l slow cooker pot).
2. Drizzle 2 tbsp Chinese wine over prawns and close the lid (because the prawns will jump :P)
3. Wait till the prawns have stopped jumping. This will take about 10 minutes or more.
4. Trim the feelers off the prawns, arrange them in a single layer on a steaming plate that has a bit of depth. Pour the marinating wine over.
5. Place spring onions stalks, ginger and wolfberries on top. Drizzle one more tbsp Chinese wine over the ingredients.
6. Steam till the prawns turn completely red (this takes only a few minutes – do not over cook). Garnish with spring onions strips and coriander.
“Marinating” the prawns “敬酒” :P