A crazy-good recipe straight from the new cookbook The Adventures of Fat Rice.

By Rosin Saez
November 10, 2016

Chefs Abe Conlon and Adrienne Lo have amassed serious accolades the few years—a Bon Appetit Best New Restaurant nod, recognition via the James Beard Awards—due to the success of their restaurant Fat Rice in Chicago. The duo has just release a new cookbook, which is a technicolor wonderland of pop art and punchy comic art, and it all ties in the history and food of China’s Macau region. Conlon and Lo will be in Seattle next week at Fremont’s Book Larder for a book signing, and at Tom Douglas’s Hot Stove Society kitchen for a cooking demo (more details here).

The Adventures of Fat Rice: Recipes from the Chicago Restaurant Inspired by Macau showcases the varied flavors of this rich, centuries-old area with dishes like smoked chicken with a spicy tomato-curry sauce, porco bafassa, which is smothered and roasted tumeric pork shoulder, and more.

Without further ado…

Recipe: Fat Rice’s Chilli Prawns

Ingredients

Garlic-Chilli Stuffing
2 tablespoons fermented black beans, minced
1/4 cup seeded and minced fresh red chillies or sambal oelek
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons minced cilantro stems
8 U-10 prawns, head-on and shell-on, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Optional Garnish
Small handful of Portuguese olives
Small handful of horse ear–cut green onions, green parts only
1 lemon, cut into wedges and dipped in Korean chilli flakes

Chilli prawns like these can be found all over Macau. At Fat Rice, they’re served head- on and shell-on, stuffed with a mixture of garlic, chillies, cilantro, and fermented black beans. The word prawn can cause some unnecessary confusion—we use it here simply to describe large shrimp. Look for shrimp that are head-on, shell-on, extra jumbo- sized U-10 (meaning under 10 per pound) or bigger. We had one at Restaurante Litoral in Macau that probably weighed half a pound! Use your hands to peel and eat the prawns, and don’t neglect the heads! Place the open end in your mouth, squeeze, and suck all that good stuff out. It’s even better if you’ve got some good dry Madeira to pour inside the head for a boozy shot of bisquelike goodness.

To make the stuffi combine the fermented black beans, chillies, garlic, and cilantro stems in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

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Using a razor blade or kitchen shears, cut through the shell and fl sh of each prawn along the back about halfway deep, starting at the base of the head through a quarter of the way from the tip of the tail. Remove the vein running along the back using the edge of the razor or shears and discard. Fill the space you just cleaned on each prawn with the stuffing.

Heat a large pan with a lid over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is almost smoking, carefully lay the prawns in the oil and cook until the shell starts to brown and the fl sh starts to turn pink, about 1 minute. Flip the prawns and cook for another minute, browning the other side. Carefully add the wine to the pan—it will spatter—and immediately cover with the lid. Steam the prawns until completely pink and fully cooked, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the prawns to a serving dish. Add the butter to the pan and swirl until melted by the heat remaining in the pan. Pour the sauce over the prawns. Garnish with the olives, green onions, and lemon and serve immediately.

Book It: Chicago Chefs Talk Macau Cuisine and New Cookbook in Seattle