In Singapore, there are a whole category of recipes classified as “Eurasian” – fusing European and Asian ingredients into a harmonious whole that was beloved by the British during their colonial rule of the City-State during the 19th century.
Quentin’s Restaurant is the leader in continuing to offer these now rare dishes to a hungry Singapore and is universally accalimed as offering some of the most “shiok” (delicious) food in the City.
This is my adaptation of their recipe, and it does closely follow the canonical source – I admittedly prefer my version but no matter what, this is a simple recipe that will knock your socks off! 🙂
Please enjoy this classic recipe from Singapore and know that many others from this wonderful City-State will follow in the future!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
1 ½ lb Whole prawns/shrimp) (medium to large-sized)
½ tsp Salt
2 tbsp Peanut oil
2 smashed cloves of garlic
1 tsp Sugar
½ cup Thick coconut milk
1 tsp Turmeric powder
3-4 jalapenos (optional)
1 sprig Fresh basil leaves (for garnishing)
1 tbsp Ginger (julienne) (for garnishing)
Spice paste or Rempah
1 clove garlic
4 Thai bird’s eye chillies
4 tsp (or more) Chinese garlic chili paste (adjust to taste)
1 tsp Belacan or any other shrimp paste
5 macadamia nuts
Quentin (the originator of the recipe) has noted a very interesting bit of info on the Prawns used for Prawn Bostador. Famed for how crunchy the prawns were, he said that he sources prawns that are flash frozen and then thaws them in ice water in order to get that texture. He said that he had thawed them out before at room temperature and the texture was different.
JH adds another Chinese trick for achieving that kind of texture – thaw not only in ice water, but heavily salted ice water.
Once defrosted, cut down the middle of the prawn shell with scissors, then with a knife make a shallow cut along the back and remove the black vein. The prawns may be shelled if this is preferred. In this case, leave on the tails and the heads. (The tails are a nice presentation effect and the head adds a large amount of flavour to the sauce)
Whiz the rempah ingredients in a food processor or pound in a mortar and pestle into a paste.
Heat the oil in a wok below the smoking point temperature, fry garlic till golden brown but not burnt, remove, drain on paper towels and set aside for another use or discard.
To the oil, add ground paste and turmeric powder, reduce heat to med, sauté till quite toasted.
Add (optional) sliced green chillies, stir-fry 1 minute.
Add prawns, stir-fry until just turning opaque.
Remove prawns with a slotted spoon, set aside.
Add coconut milk, sugar, salt to taste, to the wok reduce heat to low, simmer sauce till thickened.
Turn heat off, add cooked prawns, coat well with sauce and dish onto a serving plate.
Garnish with green chilies, basil leaves and ginger (optional)
This goes very well served with nasi lemak (coconut rice). Plain steamed rice also works, of course!