4 Servings
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Start the Chinese New Year festivities and feasting on a happy note with these laughing prawns or hee har tai siew.


  • 500 g large thin-shelled prawns (red leg prawns)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper powder
  • 2 tsps Chinese yellow wine (hua tiao jiu)
  • 3 slices young ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 plants spring onions, cut in
  • ½-cm lengths
  • 2 long red chillies, sliced
  • 6 cups vegetable oil


  • 4 tbsps water
  • 1½ tsps corn flour
  • 2 tsps fine sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1½ tsps light soy sauce

Trim feelers of prawns and cut off the sharp point of the head. Leave head and shell on.


Cut down the whole back of the shell with a pair of scissors. Make a deep cut – remove the black intestinal vein but do not remove the dark greenish vein – this is actually the roe and cooks to a beautiful red colour. Pat the prawns dry with paper towels.


Put vegetable oil in a non-stick wok and deep-fry prawns for a few seconds, stirring constantly. This prevents the prawns from being overcooked. You want them slightly undercooked. Drain off the oil and put prawns aside.


Keep 2 tbsps oil in the wok (it will have a delicious prawn aroma) and turn on high heat. When hot, stir-fry ginger for 30 secs. Add garlic, fry till light golden.


Add prawns and sprinkle the wine over the sides of the wok to allow it to sizzle.


Stir-fry for 30 secs and move the ingredients to the side of the wok. Add sauce ingredients and stir till it thickens. Add in fried prawns and spring onions, stir and serve immediately.

Photos: Andy Wong (Rave Photography)

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