Imperial King Pao Prawns

9:00 pm on 31 May 2004

A fragrant and slightly spicy imperial dish as taught to me by the chefs at The Grand Hotel, Beijing.


  • 30 king soft shelled prawns, heads removed, shells on
  • handful large dried red chillies,
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced leeks
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
  • ½ cup dark rice vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • cornflour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • peanut oil


Cut the legs of the prawns with scissors.

Cut down the back of the prawn – almost splitting in half lengthwise.

Remove the vein and wash thoroughly.

Mix the sugar and salt together, add the vinegar, soy sauces, 1½ cups water and mix to dissolve.

Dust the meat side of the prawns with cornflour.

Heat a wok and add enough peanut oil to deep fry the prawns. When the oil is at smoking point, add the prawns (in batches if the wok is small). Fry the prawns for approximately 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoons and pour out the remaining peanut oil.

Add the sesame oil and heat. Add the chillies, garlic and ginger and stir fry for approximately 1 minute.

Add the prepared sauce ingredients and bring to the boil until syrupy.

Return the prawns and toss to coat with sauce.

Serve immediately.

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