My love for Korean food started way back in 2005, the year I was in Los Angeles, where for the first time I had a real taste of authentic Korean food in K-town LA. Since then I’ve never looked back, I’m not Korean but I love the food and one of my favourite Korean food bloggers is Maangchi. Her videos, food and style of cooking is warm and friendly and her dishes are also fairly easy to make.
This particular post has two parts, it’s a dinner I made on a whim one night after researching some of her recipes. I was particularly attracted to this one because the prawns are jumbo sized! The colour on them is bright almost yolk like and the recipe is really quick to whip up. It turned out really delicious, the main changes I made was to use a gluten free mix flour to batter it before the fry up and I didn’t add more salt to the prawns, otherwise, the recipe is pretty much the same.
What I’m going to do that is different from her post is an introduction of a few of the different types of prawns you can find here in Singapore and the varied types you can use for this recipe.
Indian White Prawn (Ang Kar Hei – translated red leg prawn)
Origins: Wild sea caught around the region
Ang Kar prawns have a pale peachy colour, with a tinge of red. You know it is Ang Kar (means red leg in Hokkien) mainly because of its size, it’s the most jumbo sized prawn you will find in the local wet market, it’s prized for it’s thin shell and meaty tail. These are the prawns, hawker sellers use for jumbo prawn mee or jumbo laksa prawns. The resulting stock cooked using the prawn heads of Ang Kar prawns is usually light coloured, sweet and delicate in taste, this makes it suitable for Hae Mee (prawn broth noodles) as the heads don’t affect the pale colour of the resulting broth. Expect to shell out at least 20+ Singapore dollars for 1 kilogram of these prawns.
False White Prawn (Orh Hei – translated black prawn)
Size: Medium to large
Origins: Locally caught in the sea
These prawns are touted to be caught locally in the sea, they aren’t from the wild seas. They have a distinctive grey almost black tinge, and are said to be the cousins of regular glass prawns but caught from a different region. These prawns can sometimes cost even more than Ang Kar prawns of the same size, they are prized for its exceptional sweet flavour, and are even more tender than Ang Kar prawns. If you use Orh hei prawn heads to make stock, the colour is much darker; almost a murky grey compared to that of Ang Kar prawns, the taste is also sweeter, richer and stronger than the Ang Kar variety. Expect to shell out at least 19+ Singapore dollars for 1 kilogram of these prawns.
Wild caught frozen king tiger prawns
Origins: Wild sea caught in Western Australian waters
Bonus: Sustainably caught, colouring free, not bleached, no artificial feeds
These prawns are in a class of their own given they are harvested from Western Australia where the waters are much pristine compared to other parts of the world. These are wild caught, fresh flash frozen prawns of premium quality captured with sustainable fishing methods from producers who care about the impact of prawn trawling on the environment.
In terms of appearance, when cooked tiger prawns have striking stripes, are redder in colour, and are more firm and crunchy with a rich aroma of the sea.
These prawns are available seasonally at The Organic Grocer (500g at $35), they offer free delivery island wide with $150 purchases and above. Please call the number 6469 7743 to check stock availability or to pre-order your prawns, alternatively you may check their website theorganicgrocer.com for further details.
All three types of cooked prawns make delicious prawn pancakes, for entertaining Ang Kar Hei gives the best overall look since it’s large and generous looking. Taste wise when cooking for myself I actually prefer the Orh Hei or wild caught King tiger prawns, they have a stronger prawn aroma and are easier to eat since they aren’t so large! Ha ha the idea of jumbo anything always sounds very good, but I realised I actually like to eat the whole prawn in one go!
I hope you enjoyed this read on the dish and different types of prawns (now you know what prawns to buy!), here’s the step by step pictures to the recipe.
Cut off prawn heads, deshell and devein prawns, remove the intestines and other waste material. Also cut off the sharp tail (telson) – prawns’ water pouch.
Score prawns on both sides, pat dry with paper towels.
Season prawns with pepper and mustard paste.
Batter prawns in pamela’s all purpose flour blend (gluten free mix).
Coat floured prawns in beaten egg, fry on medium heat in non stick pan.
Finished Saeujeon prawn pancakes!
Show me your prawn pancakes on instagram at #taystesg or check out Maangchi’s version here.
Saeujeon – prawn pancakes – Maangchi special (part 1)
Serves 4 (adapted from Maangchi recipe)
16 prawns (jumbo if you must)
fresh ground black or mixed pepper
sea salt a sprinkle (optional)
1/4 cup pamela’s all purpose flour blend (gluten free) or rice flour
2 eggs beaten
4 tablespoons grape seed oil
2 teaspoons mustard powder (I use Colman’s mustard powder)
2 teaspoons cold water
1 tablespoon tamari (gluten free)
2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon finely sliced spring onions
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Prep your prawns
- Cut off prawn heads, reserve them for a quick stock later. Devein and degut prawns by cutting through the prawn flesh, be careful to not cut all the way through (remove all the intesines and waste material) rinse quickly in water if prawns are still murky looking after.
- Leave on the tails but cut off the telson; a the sharp part of the prawn tail (it contains water inside), place the cleaned prawns on the chopping board.
- Score the prawns on both sides.
- Pat dry with paper towels after.
Make your mustard paste and marinade the prawns
- Mix the mustard powder with the cold water
- Season cleaned prawns with salt (optional) and pepper and smear on a thick layer of the mustard paste
- Batter your prawns with the gluten free flour of choice
- Beat the eggs and dip in the prawns
Mix tamari, brown rice vinegar, spring onions, sesame seeds and sesame oil. Set aside.
In a non-stick pan, heat your pan, when hot, add in grape seed oil, keep fire on medium heat and fry up the prawns till golden and fully cooked, turning every few minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Watch out for the tails, use a spatula to press these down so no uncooked bits remain.
Serve with dipping sauce!
For a quick cooking prawn stock, reserve the heads, don’t wash them as it takes away the precious umami flavours.
In a small pot, pour in enough cool water to just cover the heads, and boil on high fire for 20 minutes.
Set aside, strain out prawn heads and let stock cool completely. Freeze after. Prawn stock can be kept in the deep freezer for 3 months.