Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chef Galli's Luang Prabang Tiger Prawns

Chef Galli's Tiger Prawns Fricassée

One of the Chef Gilles Galli's signature dishes at Luang Prabang's gorgeous Phou Savanh Restaurant, was his Tiger Prawns Fricassée with Sticky Rice and Thai Basil. This curry-style dish, in which prawns are cooked in a spicy coconut milk sauce, gains lovely flavour from the addition of fragrant thai basil, which is quite different from the Italian sweet basil we normally get in Toronto. 

The Luang Prabang Market

Luang Prabang has a bustling market each day of the week, as most families purchase fresh ingredients twice a day — first thing in the morning and later in the afternoon — so the market caters to every desire, from prepared Lao sausages, banana fritters, and fresh noodles to local fish, seafood and fabulous fresh Lao herbs and vegetables. Also known for their weaving skills, the Lao market sells all kinds of baskets at unbelievable prices — I bought a beautiful handwoven bamboo sticky rice steamer for just $1!

A Lao favourite — Sai Gork — sausage made from coarsely chopped fatty pork 
seasoned with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, 
cilantro, chillies, garlic, salt and fish sauce.

Tiger Prawns Fricassée with Wok Vegetables, Sticky Rice and Thai Basil
Serves 4

16 large fresh tiger prawns
1/2 cup coconut cream
2 tbsp Red Curry Paste
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tbsp fish sauce or to taste
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
Thai basil to garnish
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, julienned
1 cup broccoli stals, julienned
1/4 cup, ginger, julienned
2 cups Thai sticky rice (you'll need a bamboo basket and steamer)

For the sticky rice:
Soak the sticky rice in enough water to cover the rice for at least an hour and even overnight. Take your steamer and put water in the bottom pot and cover the bamboo steamer basket with cheese cloth. Pour the sticky rice on the cheesecloth, and then cover with a lid. Put it on the stove on medium high heat. The sticky rice should take about a 20 minutes of steaming to cook and will become translucent when done. Set aside.

For the Prawns:
Peel and devein the prawns, discarding the heads and tails. Heat the coconut cream in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the prawns and coconut milk, and bring genty to a boil. Simmer over heat for about 8-10 minutes, or until prawns are just cooked. While the prawns are cooking, stir-fry the carrots, broccoli, ginger and garlic in a small sautée pan with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, until fragrant and firm to the bite, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside. Season the prawns to taste, with some fish sauce and brown sugar. 

To serve: 
Take the sticky rice and form small round puck-shapes, about 3" diameter, and place on warmed serving plates. Place a small dollop of vegetables on top of each rice cake, then top with 2 prawns on each cake. Spoon the sauce over top each serving, then garnish with shreds of thai basil.

COOK'S NOTE: To make Sticky Rice, you really need to invest in a bamboo steamer and pot, which I've seen in Chinatown and also online at one of my favourite sites