Teppanyaki prawns

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Overview
These we researched many, many times by visiting great Teppanyaki restaurants around Melbourne and ordering lots of banquets. The problem is that you only get 2 prawns each… but if you make them at home, you can have as much as you like! However, the REAL reason I love these is the prawn cracker. I still remember being grossed out by the prospect of eating those little legs! I was brave and tried it (this sounds pretty impressive for a kid, but I was pushing 30!!), but it was years before I tried to make them myself.

Time
Really quick – peel, cook eat in 15-20 minutes (unless there’s a lot of them!)

Ingredients
Raw prawns, still in shell (Dinner party? 3 per person. Gluttons? Make more!)
30-50g butter
Shards of garlic to infuse the butter (if desired)
Fresh lemon juice – have 2 halves on standby
Fresh cracked pepper
Dumpling sauce (I use Weichuan) or something liquid with a bit of tang like ponzu

Preparation
Everything must be ready to go before you start heating the pan.

1 -To prepare the prawns, twist the heads off, just below the legs. Slide your thumb under the legs and carefully liberate the prawn cracker. Set aside.

2 – Remove the shell (including the tail) from the bodies of the prawns. Use a knife to expose the vein and remove.

3 – Cut each prawn in half. Leave the tail end intact and butterfly the larger end by cutting further into the where the vein was and opening the prawn up.

Method: Prawn crackers
4 – Heat a large pan over a high heat. When hot, add a touch of butter. Allow to melt.

5 – Place the crackers on the pan, fleshy side down. Crack a little pepper onto each one, and add a few drops of lemon. (Traditionally, these are left au naturale). Use a potato masher or a spatula to press them as flat as you can. Turn them once a little colour has appeared on the undersides, 2-3 minutes.

6 – Turn over. Repeat the pepper/lemon process and flatten the crackers again.

7 – Turn over for the last time. Add a few drops of the dumpling sauce and shake the pan to allow each cracker to come into contact with the sauce. It will likely burn: that’s okay. Press the dumplings flat and let them sit for a minute or so. On a Teppan, the cook would move the crackers to the cool part of the hot plate, but I found that I like the crackers to be a little moist, so I take them off the heat now. Do what you like – if you like them dry, move them to the edge of the pan while you cook the prawns.

Method: Prawns
8 – Add the rest of the butter to the pan (wipe the pan out with paper towel if there is too much burnt residue from the crackers). When it starts to bubble, add the prawn tails, then the butterflied sections with the inside flesh facing down.

9 – Working quickly, sprinkle with lemon juice and cracked pepper. After they have cooked for another minute or so, turn them, starting with the tail sections.

10 – Repeat the lemon and pepper. After a minute, or when they are looking a touch browned, splash with the dumpling sauce and shake the pan a bit to make sure they’re all nicely coated (the flambé fun is just a cool bonus).

Serve immediately. Nom nom nom…