6 medium-sized prawns
4 cups peanut oil (consumption 10%)
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 teaspoon gourmet powder
1 tablespoon cooking wine
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon minced scallion
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
a pinch of pepper
2 tablespoons cornflour in 2 tablespoons water
1) Wash prawns in cold water. Trim them of feelers, legs, etc. Scoop out the stomachs. Cut with scissors a slit on the shell down the back of each and pick out the black line underneath.
2) Cut the prawns across, each into two sections. Season them with a little of the salt, cooking wine and gourmet powder and tenderize them with a coating of cornflour solution (3 tablespoons).
In another bowl, mix a thickening sauce with tomato ketchup, sugar, vinegar, pepper, the rest of the cornflour solution (1 tablespoon) and the remaining salt, cooking wine and gourmet powder, together with 4 tablespoons of water.
3) Heat fry pan on fire. Pour in peanut oil and heat it till it begins to smoke. Drop in prawn sections separately and when the cornflour coating crusts, remove and drain, separating the ones that may stick together.
Heat oil again. Return prawns for a second frying. When they become golden brown, remove and drain again. Empty pan, keeping a little oil at the bottom. Put in minced scallion and ginger and stir-fry until it smells good. Pour in thickening sauce, stirring all the time till the sauce is thick. Return prawns to sauce. Mix and transfer to serving dish.
(1) The cornstarch solution used for coating must not be too thin, for it will not adhere to the prawn. If the prawn is already rather wet, it may be evenly sprinkled on with some dry cornstarch or cornflour before frying. In either case - solution or dry powder - there should be no lumps in it.
(2) Instead of tomato ketchup, soya sauce may be used, but not too much of it lest the color of the dish should be too dark.