Soy-Preserved Spot Prawns
This recipe was inspired by Korean soy-preserved blue crabs, aka Gaejang. Gaejang is an addictive spring delicacy that I had the honor of tasting in Seoul during a return visit. The crabs are preserved in a marinade that has been strained, boiled, and cooled every 24 hours for 3 to 5 days. Straining and boiling multiple times helps to remove harmful bacteria. If you're skeptical, just know that I prepared this with my good friend, Seung-Hee, food lover/accomplished eater, as well as nutritionist and public health specialist with the CDC.
We made this recently with fresh raw Prince William Sound spot prawns just a few hours out of the water. Firmer in texture than crab, which becomes more like a briny beautiful sea-jelly, you could also use wild shrimp or tiger prawns. As for serving, this dish is also known as "rice thief"; the soy sauce marinade elicits cries for lots of accompanying rice. Seung-Hee also suggests soft-boiled eggs and roasted seaweed. I like something green and bite-y, like green onion, micro-greens, or pea shoots or arugula to offset the richness. The whole meal is a hands-on eating frenzy that ends in very happy and satisfied mouths.
- 2 cups low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 3/4 cup brow sugar
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1 whole apple, quartered and seeded, discarding stem and seeds
- 1/2 yellow onion, peeled
- 1 lemon, cut in half; juice of one half
- 2 serrano chiles
- 2 dry red chiles
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 green onions, trimmed
For the Prawns:
- 1 pound large fresh raw shell-on spot prawns or wild shrimp, trimmed and rinsed
- 1 yellow or white onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeños, stems removed, thinly sliced
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil; let boil for 15 minutes. Strain liquid, discarding solids, into a bowl. Let marinade cool to room temperature; chill in refrigerator or use an ice bath until marinade is cool enough to add to the raw prawns.
- Trim prawns, using scissors. Place thinly sliced onion and jalapeño slices in a single layer in a large container with lid. Add prawns in a single layer over onion; pour chilled marinade over prawns. Cover and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove container from refrigerator. Strain marinade through a fine mesh sieve and into a pot. Place prawns back in refrigerator. Heat marinade and let boil for 5 minutes. Chill completely and pour marinade over prawns; place container back in refrigerator. Repeat every 24 hours for two more days.
Place prawns on a shallow serving platter and pour marinade over; top with onion and jalapeño slices. Serve with steamed rice, roasted seaweed (kim nori); soft-boiled eggs; and pea shoots, micro greens, or thinly sliced green onion.
Date Published: June 22, 2015
All recipes have been tested by the KimSunée.com Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.