I still remember…

…that my mum used to cook those giant udang galah or chia-chui hay (freshwater prawns) this way…

Soy sauce prawns 1

We also call them tua-thow hay or big-headed prawns as if you buy the big ones, the heads are really huge. I would avoid buying those as the bodies are relatively small so we may not get very much to eat in the end. Of course if you can get the good ones, there may be that rich, thick and gooey orange-coloured stuff in the head that is very much coveted by all but there is no guarantee that you will get that in each and every one of the prawns plus they do not come cheap – at least, RM50 a kg…or more if they are not in season.

I managed to buy these small ones at the market one morning for RM30.00 a kg and I decided to cook them in that same way my mum did. I am not sure whether this is the Foochow way of cooking them or not but like all Foochow dishes, it is very basic and very simple…and yet tastes really great. All you need would be some slices of ginger and soy sauce and a bit of sugar to counter the salty taste of the sauce. I added a bit of sliced chili…

Soy sauce prawns 2

…and since I had some kicap manis ( sweet soy sauce), I decided to use that instead of the regular soy sauce and sugar.

First, I fried the ginger slices in a little bit of oil and once the fragrance had come out, I threw in the chili…

Soy sauce prawns 3

…and the prawns…

Soy sauce prawns 4

…and I kept on frying till they were cooked…

Soy sauce prawns 5

– they would have all turned red by then, of course.

Having done that, I added some water and the soy sauce, enough to make the gravy look dark, around two or three tablespoons of it…

Soy sauce prawns 6

I tasted a bit of it and OH NO!!!!! To my horror, I found it to be so very sweet. No…no…it was not supposed to be like that. I quickly added a bit of our regular soy sauce, maybe around one tablespoon of it, and when I tried it again, it  was just perfect – exactly like how my mum cooked it before. I certainly would advise anyone who would like to cook this dish to stick to what has been tried and tested and not to use the kicap manis in place of the regular soy sauce and sugar.

Once done, I dished everything out and served…

Soy sauce prawns 7

Of course, you may add some extra ingredients if you wish, like say, a dash of the traditional Foochow red wine…or a stalk of serai (lemon grass) or some sliced Bombay onions but I wanted to follow strictly to how my mum cooked the prawns way back then during my growing-up years – so simple, so easy and yet so delicious. I still remember how we loved eating this so very much. I still do!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

23 thoughts on “I still remember…”

  1. Drool drool drool drool. Gonna sleep dreaming of the prawn liao
    Why la i come at this ungodly hour.haiz.

    Hahahahaha!!! You had your share already. Ate so many when you were home!!! Tsk! Tsk!

  2. Actually I find that you’re very expert and can one hand hold the camera to take picture and another hand busy cooking, not easy duh!!!

    Stop for a while and take the photo quickly, not a problem at all.

  3. Yum yum. I love your recipe. I usually steam my prawns at home since hubby prefer it that way. But I remember my mum stir fry the prawns at home with this recipe more or less. Thanks for sharing.

    Steaming is good too – with lots of ginger and Foochow red wine of Chinese white wine. My daughter isn’t so much into that though so we hardly ever cook prawns like that at home.

  4. Very drooling post.. I’m reading this first thing I reach the office.. I am eyeing on the heads now you know..
    I know too much is not good, but everytime when they order prawns in restaurants, I would go for the heads first.. If there are leftovers and nobody wants to touch the prawns anymore, I would peel off only their heads to be eaten and leave the rest (of the bodies) on the plate for the waiter to takeaway.. Haha..

    Good grief!!! They say ALL the cholesterol is in the head – ok to eat the body but throw away the head!

    1. So who finished all the heads? Or all throw? Eh, so wasted 😦

      The sea prawns, we do that. Keep only the body with the tails intact. Boil the heads and shell for stock. This one, we eat. Actually, I like too…especially if there is the “kor” inside, so nice…but have to control lah. Like eggs, they say if you eat both the yolk and the white, it is ok…not just the yolk – it is naturally created that way for a perfect balance.

  5. Your dish looks yummy. Often the simplest recipes are the best as you get to appreciate the flavours of each ingredient.

    How very true! Makes no sense to spend so much only to drown out all the natural flavours with all the spices, seasonings and stuff.

  6. No need to add so much ingredients, I also prefer it with less so that can taste the sweetness and the originality of the prawns! Drooling now!!

    For that, the prawns must be fresh. Sometimes, eating out…they may be bland, quite tasteless…and that would need a lot of ingredients.

  7. awww, freshwater prawns!! and yeah, agree, just keep it simple and don’t need to add so many ingredients to cook.. if it’s fresh, even just cook in water and then dip with soy sauce would be delicious!!

    Like many veg. Just boil a bit and eat, so very sweet and nice. Ulam lagi best!

  8. Mmmm…nice . Yea Pete featured this way of cooking before. I’ve tried before. Sedap

    Oh? He cooks it like this too? Hmmmm…then it’s probably not Foochow then, goes across the board.

  9. This prawn dish is so simple to cook and yet it is so good! So looks like the ABC sauce is too sweet, huh? Was quite tempted to buy it and perhaps should use just a little and not too much.

    Yes, very sweet! You know the thick soy sauce in Indomie mi goreng – that’s the one. Exactly like it. I guess it has its uses…but not for this. 😦

  10. bought so much till cant stuffed into the fridge. It was RM15 per kg, directly from Sg Niah, and that was back in 1999. Murky, black river, lots of kokedai… all got ko in side… there was one boy carrying one ekor only, tat one is 1kg berat… had to buy that and makan… nice!

    It was dirt cheap then. We had these prawns virtually every week, at least once. Those were the days.

  11. Wah …. so complicated. Next time if got chance in Sibu , you cook for me la. *slurp*

    No problem, no problem at all…like how I cooked for Claire and the rest. If only you would WANT to come here… 😦

  12. Yeah, those big-headed prawns, I think we rarely have them for the reasons you mentioned above; the flesh is just a little at the end compared to the usual prawns but we do get them when we go for Mee Udang, or when we dine outside. Haha, and some used to joke that if you take too much of these prawns, you will end up becoming very forgetful…an old myth 😛
    Recently we are getting prawns quite often at home too, lol, small and big, all home cooked, thankfully, or you’re gonna make me crave for prawns after reading this! 😉

    Oh? Forgetful? Haven’t heard of that before but best not too take too much of these crustaceans – Chinese say they’re very “tok” or poisonous. Bad for those with allergies…and then of course, people say they have very high cholesterol content. Once in a while is fine. Ya…best to go for the medium-sized ones – the head will not be so big so you would be paying for that part of the the prawns – nothing much to eat there.

  13. Simple and yet delicious. Looks real good. I would add some assam to it and make a bit of sauce to go with the plain rice. Nom!!!…nom!!!

    There is sauce to go with the rice. Assam? Never tried that – I wouldn’t think that is a common ingredient in Foochow/Chinese cooking. Would definitely add the slices if cooking prawns in the Melanau masak kunyit style – you’re very familiar with that now.

  14. simple and yummy!!! You “trim” the prawns so neat and clean!! hahahahhahhahah

    Not me, the seller. They cut somewhere around the tail and pull the vein out, no need to cut the shell of the prawns. I have not been able to master that. 😦

  15. I don’t know why I don’t like eating prawns. (except butter prawn) Because I’m so malas to open the ‘kulit’. hehehe.

    You’re just like my daughter but she has the mum to do it for her. You can ask your hubby lah. 😉
    In a way, how I de-vein the prawns is good – I cut a slit along the back and open the shell and remove the vein. When eating, it is very easy to open and take out the flesh inside but of course, the prawns may not look so nice.

  16. Screw the cholesterol but those prawns are too good to be ignored or resisted!!! I love them cooked with chinese wine and ginger:D

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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