Fried chilli prawns with pea shoots

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Pea shoots are one of the most flavoursome greens used in Chinese cooking. You can often find them in Asian supermarkets in among the pak choi and choi sum. They don't go a long way so be careful when you're cooking them and leave them in the pan for the minimum amount of time.

With the current press about the environmentally damaging farmed prawns, which are exploiting coastal habitats, you may want to steer clear of them and use the fresh Red Sea prawns that Waitrose stock; they have a much better flavour and you can enjoy your supper with a clear conscience.

20 large fresh prawns
2 red chillies, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3tbsp sesame oil
1tbsp oyster sauce
8 spring onions, trimmed and sliced thinly on the bias
300g pea shoots

With a sharp knife, cut the prawns through the back and head but not all the way through so that they are butterflied. Lay them on a tray and scatter with the chilli and garlic and season.

You will need two large pans for the prawns or, alternatively, you could use a griddle plate. Heat the pans with half of the sesame oil until it's almost smoking and fry the prawns, flesh-side down, for a minute or so on each side, then add the oyster sauce and a tablespoon of water, stir well, remove and keep warm.

Wipe the pan – or pans – clean and return to a medium heat. Add the rest of the sesame oil and then add the pea shoots and spring onions, season to taste and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring every so often, adding a little water if they seem to be colouring and drying out. Transfer to a serving dish and lay the prawns on top.

To see Mark Hix's exclusive cookery videos, see http://www.independent.co.uk/hixcooks

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