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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

How to make...Kung Pao prawns

Antonio Lopez, head chef at Teatro restaurant at the Park Rotana in Abu Dhabi, shows how this versatile Sichuan dish can be made using prawns, chicken or tofu.

The Kung Pao dish at the Teatro restaurant at Park Rotana hotel in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National
The Kung Pao dish at the Teatro restaurant at Park Rotana hotel in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National

How to make…Kung Pao prawns

Antonio Lopez, head chef at Teatro restaurant at the Park Rotana, shows us how to make this Sichuan dish with prawns, chicken or tofu

Ingredients for the main dish:

500g prawns/chicken/tofu

50g onion, roughly chopped

10g dried chillies

15g roasted peanuts

25g button mushrooms

Sprinkling of chopped spring onions

Chopped garlic and/or ginger to taste

Drizzle of sesame oil

Ingredients for the sauce:

4 tablespoons soya sauce

2 teaspoons dark soy sauce

3 teaspoons black vinegar

2 teaspoons white sugar

2 teaspoons water

Garlic chilli bean paste to taste

Corn flour to thicken

Method:

For the sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together and heat only enough to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.

- Trim, clean and chop your prawns/chicken/tofu. If using chicken, boneless thigh meat is best. Lightly coat them in corn flour before deep frying in corn oil or similar, using a wok on a high heat (ideally gas), for about a minute. Drain and set aside.

- Using the same wok coated with oil, quickly fry your garlic, chilli or ginger as desired, before adding the onion and mushrooms and prawns. Toss in the sauce, drizzle with sesame oil, add a pinch of salt, add in the peanuts and chopped spring onions, remove from heat and serve with jasmine rice.

The cheat sheet

- The marinade, without the corn flour or any added garlic, can be prepared in advance and stored in a sealed bottle for up to 6 months.

- Don’t use chicken breast, as it’s too dry

- If you don’t have jasmine rice, other rice such as basmati can be used

- Chef Lopez uses the Hong Kong Lee Kum Kee brand of chili bean paste, also known as toban djan; it and other brand come in a jar and are available from normal supermarkets.

- The black vinegar contains rice, wheat bran, sugar and salt, and is available at Chinese supermarkets or the oriental section of some hypermarkets. Chef Lopez uses the Gold Plum brand from China.