Red and White Prawns with Green Vegetables

The Chinese name for this dish is Yuan Yang prawns. Pairs of mandarin ducks are also known as yuan yang, or love birds, because they are always seen together. They symbolize affection and happiness.


serves 4 - 6
450 g (1 lb) raw prawns
1/2 egg white
15 ml (1 tbsp) cornflour paste
175 g (6 oz) mangetouts
about 600 ml (1 pint) 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil
5 ml (1 tsp) light brown sugar
15 ml (1 tbsp) finely chopped spring onion
5 ml (1 tsp) finely chopped fresh root ginger
15 ml (1 tbsp) light soy sauce
15 ml (1 tbsp) Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
5 ml (1 tsp) chilli bean sauce
15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato puree


1. Peel and devein the prawns and mix with the egg white, cornflour paste and a pinch of salt. Top and tail the mangetouts.

2. Heat 30 - 45 ml (2 - 3 tbsp) of the oil in a preheated wok and stir-fry the mangetouts for about 1 minute. Add the sugar and a little salt and continue stirring for 1 more minute. Remove and place in the centre of a warmed serving platter.

3. Add the remaining oil to the wok and cook the prawns for 1 minute. Remove and drain.

4. Pour off all but about 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the oil. Add the spring onion and ginger to the wok.

5. Return the prawns to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the soy sauce and rice wine or dry sherry. Blend the mixture thoroughly. Transfer half the prawns to one end of the serving platter.

6. Add the chilli bean sauce and tomato puree to the remaining prawns in the wok, blend well and place the "red" prawns at the other end of the platter. Serve.

All raw prawns have an intestinal tract that runs just beneath the outside curve of the tail. The tract is not poisonous, but it can taste unpleasant. It is, therefore, best to remove it - devein. To do this, peel the prawns, leaving the tail intact. Score each prawn lightly along its length to expose the tract. Remove the tract with a small knife or Chinese cleaver.

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