20 very large tiger or banana prawns, peeled but tails intact
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Salt to taste
Fresh grinding of pepper
Pinch of sugar
For the dipping sauce
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 fresh or frozen red chillies, chopped
1 thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 thumb of galangal, peeled and roughly chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 lemon grass stems, roughly chopped
½ cup coriander stems, roots and leaves
½ cup sugar
50ml apple cider vinegar
30ml Asian fish sauce
30 ml light soy sauce
METHOD (for the dipping sauce)
Put the garlic, red chillies, ginger, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass and coriander in a food processor and puree to a coarse paste.
Put the sugar with a couple of tablespoons of water and place on a moderate heat, stirring well until the sugar dissolves. When it has, remove the spoon and turn the heat up to full. Boil for three to four minutes and do not stir until it has turned a dark caramel colour. Stir in the paste from the food processor along with the apple cider vinegar, Asian fish sauce and soy sauce. Return to the boil and simmer for one minute. Leave the flavours to infuse overnight. I like to strain my dipping sauce but you can serve as is if you wish.
PREPARING THE PRAWNS
Wash and dry the prawns. On the dorsal side (longest side), make a 5 millimetres deep cut three quarters of the way down. Make sure the tail is intact as looks better when served. Clean the digestive tract by pulling out and discarding the same using a tooth pick. Prepare all the prawns this way. Place all the prepared prawns in a bowl. Mix in the sesame oil, salt, pepper and pinch of sugar. Allow to rest for five minutes.
Heat a heavy based fry pan until smoking hot. Add the prawns, a few at a time spreading them out in the pan. Allow the prawns to caramelize and turn them over when you see a bit of browning. Cook the second side for a minute or minute and a half. Repeat with all the prawns. You can also barbecue the prawns.
Serve prawns immediately with the dipping sauce in a separate individual bowl.