Another Clay Pot
A Dish from the Mekong
Prawns Clay Pot is another of the various things you can do with Clay Pots, a Vietnamese favorite. Make it with Prawns or larger Shrimp, ideally about U-10 size, and this would make about 3½ – 4 pounds raw weight. You can also use frozen large Shrimp, already deveined and peeled. If you do this, defrost them first and of course they should be raw first.
Prawns Clay Pot / Tôm nồi đất sét
16 large Prawns, with head on
2 tablespoons Oil
2 stalks Lemongrass
4 Thai red Chili Peppers
1 piece fresh Ginger,about an inch long
½ cup thinly sliced Red Onions or Shallots
1½ cups Sugar
1 cup Fish Sauce
2 cups canned Coconut Juice
Handful fresh Bean Sprouts
4 sprigs Cilantro
First lay out all the ingredients for the Mise en Place – this will save a lot of time in the final preparation. Clean and devein the Prawns, but leave the heads intact. Drain and set aside to dry well before cooking.
Remove the outer tough parts of the Lemongrass. Small with a mallet or the side of a cleaver and cut in sections about 2 inches long.
Peel the Ginger and cut lengthwise into very fine julienne strips.
The Mixture: Combine the Lemongrass, Chili Peppers, Ginger, Red Onions or Shallots and Sugar to make The Mixture and set aside.
The Onions or Shallots, whichever you have on hand an use, should be sliced as thinly as possible.
Wash the Bean Sprouts and Cilantro, which will be used as a garnish, and let drain well before cooking.
To cook the dish, first heat a clay pot, wok or heavy skillet and when it is hot, put in the Oil. When the Oil is hot, put in the Prawns about 4 at a time and stir-fry for a few minutes, until they turn pink all over. Then take them out and put on a plate near the stove top and do the next batch until the Prawns are all stir-fried and change color.
Put the Mixture of Lemongrass, Chili Peppers, Ginger, Onions or Shallots and Sugar into the clay pot and stir-fry for about a minute or until the Sugar has dissolved. Then add the Fish Sauce and Coconut Juice. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
Put all the Prawns back into the clay pot or wok and stir-fry for a few minutes, until well coated with the sauce.
Divide the cooked Prawns among individual deep bowls, garnish with the some of the liquid from the wok, top with the Bean Sprout and Cilantro garnish and serve immediately.