Fragrant-and-Hot Numbing Tiger Prawns (Xiang La Xia)

Fragrant-and-Hot Numbing Tiger Prawns (Xiang La Xia)

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1 lb tiger prawns or jumbo shrimp, thawed if frozen
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp chili bean paste
1 tsp chopped salted chilis
3 tbsp water
1/4 tsp dark soy
2 scallions, green parts only, finely sliced
1 tbsp red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup peanut oil, for cooking


Cut the heads off the prawns or shrimp, and remove the legs.  Poke out as much as possible of their dark veins with a darning needle (we skipped this step).  Rinse the prawns, then mix with the salt and Shaoxing wine and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok over high heat until hot, but not smoking.  Shake the prawns dry.  Tip them into the wok and deep-fry for less than 30 seconds, until they have turned pink and are partially cooked.  Remove prawns with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Pour off all but 3 tbsp of oil and lower heat to medium.  Add ginger, garlic, chili bean paste and chopped salted chilis.  Stir-fry until the oil is fragrant and stained deep red by the chilis.  Add water and dark soy sauce and bring to a boil.  Add prawns and cook over high heat to reduce the sauce, stirring constantly.  When the water in the sauce has evaporated, add the scallions and bell pepper to give them a lick of heat.  

Remove from heat, stir in sesame oil, and serve.