Kung Pao Prawns, a recipe from Singapore

A few words about you and where did the quarantine find you?

I am an architect turned food stylist, food photographer & recipe curator based in Singapore. The quarantine found me in my apartment in the little red dot island. I am surrounded by a huge community, with hundreds of apartments around. We can see & wave to each other but that’s it. That’s how the quarantine looks like where I stay.   

What did it change for you ?

Even though Singapore was one of the first countries to be affected by the virus, the official lockdown came about 2 months later. Before it was officially announced, I was still shooting for clients. Most brands were coming up with alternative strategies to reach out to customers because the restaurant industry was badly affected. They all needed photos. As much as I loved shooting for each client, it was rather nerve wrecking to be outside doing photography while the virus was spreading in town. Once the lockdown was announced, staying home changed many things for me.

I’ve found more time to work on my photography. I am cooking a lot more so that I can not only photograph that food but also try new recipes. I’m also spending time with my daughter which is a huge positive. While I do miss the normalcy,. I’m grateful  that this period has allowed me to work on everything I’d put on the back burner for months.

How many loo-rolls can you count in your cupboards?

A full bag of 20 rolls – but no hoarding. All I hoard during this time are tomatoes 🙂

Comfort food – Kung Pao prawns

This is not really my comfort food but signifies the type of food I’m cooking these days. It is easy, quick, nutritious & made with simple pantry ingredients.

  • For the Sauce
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. black vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • salt according to taste
  • For the Marinade
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp Sichuan peppercorn (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • Other Ingredients
  • 400 g shrimps
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn (whole)
  • 5 dried red chillies (whole)
  • 5 dried red chillies (cut in 3” long strips)
  • large spring onion (white part only, finely chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • piece old ginger (finely chopped)
  • ½ green pepper (cut in small cubes)
  • ½ red bell pepper (cut in small cubes)
  • ¼ cup salted cashew or peanuts
  • 75 g snow peas (washed (optional))
  1. Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl & add shrimp to it. Mix well to coat the shrimp evenly. Cover & set aside.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl. Mix well & set aside.
  3. Heat cooking oil in a pan and add whole dried red chillies, chopped dried red chillies, whole Sichuan peppers, ginger & garlic. Sauté for 1 minute on high heat or till the ginger & garlic are cooked halfway through.
  4. Add the snow peas (optional) & shrimp. Sauté on high heat till the shrimp begins to turn opaque, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the spring onion, red peppers & green peppers. Sauté on high heat for about 30 second till the peppers turn soft.
  6. Pour in the sauce & add peanuts/cashews. Mix well on high heat for about 10 seconds and turn off heat.
  7. Serve hot with rice or noodles. Tastes great with a side of stir-fried bok choy.

Kung Pao prawns

  1. Sichuan peppers & red chillies can be kept whole or reduced in quantity for a less spicy flavour.
  2. To use frozen uncooked shrimp in the recipe, make sure it is completely thawed & drained before adding to the marinade.
  3. To use fresh shrimp, clean, devein, wash & drain before use.

How do you cope?

My work is my best way to cope with the situation. I focus on the positives & use my time utilising it for everything I’ve missed doing for a while. It gets to me sometimes but in that moment I either get out on my balcony or go walk my dog. Keeping myself busy without questioning why we are in this situation, how it has affected us & when it will end, helps me to move forward with a positive mindset.  

Where will you go eat once this madness is over?

I want to have a huge gathering at home with my all friends once this over. I want to cook a feast for them & share a few good bottles of wine to celebrate that precious moment. I’m missing social bonding the most during this time.

Share a wish, just so we can finish on a happy note

I wish we all come out healthy from this crisis. Those who have been affected have the strength to move forward positively & the rest of us take life’s biggest lessons out of this.

from Singapore with love,


PS: If you wish to be part of my quarantine cuisine diaries and share your experience on Eat Yourself Greek (EYG), please drop me a line here. Thanks, Eugenia

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