Macao was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in 2017, and you can recreate some of its signature flavours with this fragrant, spicy prawn dish.
Macao’s location across the Pearl River estuary from Hong Kong doesn’t begin to tell its culinary story. With over 400 years of Portuguese influence, starting from the 16th century, its heritage is a unique combination of European and Asian.
Get a taste for the charming fusion of world flavours with this recipe for gambas à Macao (Macanese prawns), bursting with Asian flavours despite its Portuguese origins.
How to make Macanese prawns with crispy shallots
Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 20 mins
- 24 king prawns, shells on
- 6 medium banana shallots, 2 finely chopped, 4 thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 5cm root ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2-4 red chillies, very finely chopped (and deseeded if you like), plus extra slices to garnish
- 2 large handfuls coriander, leaves and stalks very finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
- 3 tbsp light olive oil
- 250ml Chinese rice wine or Shaoxing rice wine
- 60g unsalted butter
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1-2 tsp soy sauce
- Clean and dry the prawns, then slice a 1cm-deep cut along their backs, from where the tail meets the body to the tip of the tail. Pull out the black vein.
- Mix the chopped shallots, garlic, ginger, 1 or 2 chillies and the coriander to make the filling. Press a little of the filling into the cut edge of the prawns.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the sliced shallots for 10 mins until crispy, adding the chilli slices for the last 2 mins, then set aside.
- Add the prawns in batches and cook for 2 mins on each side until lightly golden and cooked through. Set aside while you cook the next batch.
- Add the wine and bubble until reduced by a third, then add the butter, lemon juice, soy sauce, crispy shallots and the remaining 1-2 chillies. Season to taste, then pour over the prawns. Sprinkle over the remaining coriander.
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