Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cajun Garlic Prawns

Tiger Prawns

There was a time in my life that the only two ways that I knew how shrimps were cooked, no matter how big they were, were as halabos or sinigang. My mother, bless her heart, whose 4-decade love affair with the best and the freshest Philippine produce that the local public market could offer, had a very limited shrimp and prawn recipe repertoire. While halabos and sinigang are delicious traditional recipes in their own right, too much of a good thing can be, well, too much. I just knew I had to put a stop to that when I grew old enough to cook.

Arguably, making sinigang or halabos out of gigantic, beautiful, fresh tiger prawns is like putting inordinate amounts of cream to your cup of Blue Mountain coffee. It is, to put it dramatically, a great disservice to a magnificent animal. Or to borrow my good friend Leo's words, dishonoring the animal who gave up its life so that you may be nourished.

A couple of days ago, my mother brought home the most amazing tiger prawns I have ever seen in my life. They were a foot long, with heads two inches in diameter. More importantly, they were fresh as could be.

While I prepped the prawns, I swore on their lifeless exoskeletoned body that I will not let them go out as halabos or sinigang. My Cajun Garlic Prawn recipe is a flavorful take on the halabos na hipon recipe. It's just as quick and easy and, despite the festive cajun flair, stays true to the natural flavor of the shrimp.

Cajun Garlic Prawns


4 large prawns, butterflied and deveined
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
dash of salt
pinch of pepper
1 tsp McCormick Grill Mates Cajun Seasoning
1 cup water


In a pan, melt butter in medium heat. Saute garlic until golden brown. Season with salt, pepper and cajun seasoning. Remove from heat.

Arrange prawns back side up in a large wok. In the split made by deveining the shrimp, spoon in the sauted garlic. Drizzle remaining melted butter over the prawns. Pour in water. Cover and steam over medium heat for about 15 minutes.

*Top photo taken with Panasonic Lumix FZ-50, the rest with a Nokia E75

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