Steamed Tiger Prawns – Gkoong Neung Gkratiem
A Recipe of Kasma Loha-unchit
Recipe Copyright © 1995 Kasma Loha-unchit.
- 1/2 lb. medium to large tiger prawns
- 10 cloves garlic
- 5-6 red and green Thai chillies (prik kee noo)
- 1 Tbs. Thai oyster sauce
- 1 Tbs. fish sauce (nahm bplah)
- A squeeze of lime (optional)
- A handful of short cilantro sprigs
Shell and butterfly the prawns, removing any black veins. Give them a saltwater bath to freshen. Rinse well and drain.
Chop half the garlic cloves and slice the other half into thin pieces. Chop the Thai chillies. Combine the chopped garlic and chopped chillies in a mortar and pound to a paste. Add the fish sauce and oyster sauce and stir well.
Arrange the prawns single layer with the butterflied edges spread out on a shallow heat-proof serving dish, which fits on the rack of a stacked steamer. The dish should have about an inch of depth to catch juices that may steam out from the prawns. Spread the garlic-chilli sauce evenly over them. Then top with the garlic slices.
Bring 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water to a boil in the bottom of the steamer pot before placing the rack holding the dish of prawns over the pot. Cover and steam over high heat about 8-10 minutes (depending on the size of the prawns), or until the prawns are just cooked through. Immediately lift the lid off the steamer so that condensed steam does not drip onto the prawns. Remove the steamer rack from the pot, letting the hot steam dissipate before lifting the plate carefully out from the rack. A fair amount of very tasty juices will have steamed out from the prawns. Squeeze a light sprinkle of lime juice over the prawns if desired, garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve while still warm.
Serves 2-3 with rice and other dishes in a multi-course Thai meal.
Notes and Pointers
Light, but spicy hot, this easy dish can satisfy your craving for spicy foods without taking much of your time. Because it is oil-less it has the additional benefit of being high protein and low-cal. In fancy Bangkok restaurants, large-size prawns are usually butterflied in their shells and steamed with their shells still on (oftentimes heads still on too). This not only keeps the prawns sweet, moist and tasty, but the shells add extra flavor to the juices steamed out onto the dish. Steaming whole also makes an impressive presentation. Spoon the juices over rice to eat along with the prawns.
See Also: The Story of Dancing Shrimp