Chinese Stir-fried Prawns with Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Cashews
Purple sprouting broccoli, like runner beans, is such a joy to eat just as it is, so it's good to make the most of its short season in the garden by serving it often. I like it simply steamed and tossed with just a trace of butter. For a change, I sometimes process it so that, being chopped small, it only needs very brief cooking. It also responds really well to stir-frying, and in this Chinese-inspired recipe it is perfect – slightly crunchy and toasted at the edges.
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You will also need a frying pan with a diameter of 10 in (25 cm), or a wok with a lid.
This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine.
Begin by placing the cornflour and cayenne in a bowl. Mix well, then toss the prawns into the bowl and mix well again, using your hands, until all the prawns are well coated. Now sprinkle in the soy sauce and mix once again until they've all been coated with that, too. Then cover the bowl and leave in a cool place for about 30 minutes.
Next, heat about a tablespoon of the groundnut oil (or other flavourless oil) in the pan or wok over a high heat. When it's really hot, add the cashews and stir-fry for 30 seconds or until golden, then remove them to a plate. Now add the prawns and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, keeping them on the move and tossing them about all the time, until they turn pink. Then remove them to the plate, too, and keep warm.
Next, add the remaining oil to the pan, along with the garlic and ginger. Let it cook for 30 seconds, then add the broccoli, mushrooms and 1/2 level teaspoon of salt. Stir-fry these over a high heat, again tossing them all around, for about a minute.
Now return the prawns and nuts to the pan, turn the heat down to medium, add the rice wine and 2 tablespoons of water and sprinkle in half of the spring onion shreds. Then put a lid on the pan and cook for a further minute. Serve absolutely straight away, with the rest of the spring onion sprinkled over. Plain boiled rice would be a good accompaniment.
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The most important point to remember if you want to fry rice successfully is that it must be cooked but cold, so you must cook the rice ahead and then allow it to cool completely. I have used authentic Chinese ingredients here
The principle of stir-frying involves speed of cooking with a high heat. As the vegetables come into contact with the hot surface of the pan or wok, the heat seals in the flavour and all the nutrients are retained. It's not essential to have a wok, b
Chinese-style recipes are often perfect for one, because many of them are made at top speed. The trouble is that Westerners are often inclined to add a little extra cooking time, and the end result can be just that little bit overdone.
Purple sprouting broccoli has a short spring season so enjoy it to the full with this quick and easy stir-fry recipe packed with flavour and low in fat. Then, when the purple sprouting variety has gone, use standard broccoli instead.
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