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Cantonese ginger scallion BC spot prawns have definitely become a highlight dish for me since we’ve started prawning for wild local BC spot prawns on the Sunshine Coast.
With Cantonese ginger scallion prawns, ginger is cooked with scallions and garlic. Lightly battered BC spot prawns are tossed into the fragrant oil. Throw in last minute aromatics, sauces, and spices — Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce, Chinese white pepper, sesame oil. Serve wild prawns piled high and steaming hot.
All of these prominent flavors in the dish are classically Cantonese. This ginger scallion aromatic foundation can be seen throughout Cantonese cuisine, though I associate it strongly with messily eating ginger scallion crab at restaurants with my family. As a member of a large Cantonese family in Vancouver, I was lucky enough to attend a Chinese banquet or two every year growing up. Whether it was to attend an association or family society dinner, a community celebration, or a family wedding, there always seemed to be an occasion to feast around a round table in a massive restaurant with a few hundred of my relatives and strangers.
Cantonese Ginger Scallion BC Spot Prawns
Cantonese Ginger Scallion BC Spot Prawns (Chinese Wild Prawn Recipe)
This Cantonese ginger scallion BC spot prawn recipe is an authentically Chinese and Cantonese take on cooking wild spot prawns, a local favorite and wild food available in BC, Canada.
- 2 pounds BC spot prawns (approximately 20 prawns)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 5 tbsp high smoke point vegetable oil separated into 2 tbsp and 3 tbsp
- 2 inches ginger root peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
- 8 whole scallions or green onions cut into 1" pieces, white roots cut in half lengthwise
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp white pepper
Clean and dry BC spot prawns, and then lightly toss with cornstarch.
Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil on a heavy bottomed skillet on medium-high to high heat until the oil is very hot.
Lay the wild prawns carefully on the pan and pan fry until golden brown on one side (around 2 minutes). Turn each prawn and cook until the prawns are fully cooked and golden brown on both sides (around 1 minute). Remove prawns and set aside on a clean paper towel, and then clean the pan.
Heat remaining vegetable oil on medium-high to high heat until the oil is shimmering. Cook ginger until cooked through (around 1 minute), and then add the white parts of the scallions and stir quickly until aromatic (around 30 seconds).
Add BC spot prawns into the pan with garlic, Chinese cooking wine, green scallion parts, soy sauce, and white pepper. Ensure the heat is on high, and then stir quickly to evaporate excess liquid and steam prawns with Chinese aromatics.
Finish with sesame oil and serve immediately.
While this Cantonese ginger scallion BC spot prawn recipe specifically uses wild BC spot prawns, you can substitute any high quality prawns. Use prawns in the shell for a tastier and more authentic, albeit slightly harder, Chinese dining experience.
Step-by-Step Instructions For Cantonese Ginger Scallion BC Spot Prawns
Start with good quality, fresh and local prawns with the shells still on, if possible. I used wild BC spot prawns that we caught the same day. We rinsed them off, and then removed their heads to make processing them easier. If you really like your guests, you can devein prawns before cooking by cutting open the back shell with scissors and removing the veins.
In this dish, it’s traditional for the prawns to be served shell-on. You can de-shell prawns before cooking if preferred, but the dish will not be as flavourful.
Prepare your raw ingredients first, as the actual cooking process is very fast. Generally speaking, it’s best to have everything ready before you start cooking any quick frying Cantonese recipes.
Toss the cleaned BC spot prawns in corn starch until they are lightly coated.
Corn starch is a classic dredge for frying in Chinese and Cantonese cuisine. Corn starch leaves a lighter and crispier texture in comparison to flour, breadcrumbs, or a wet batter.
Heat high smoke point vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over high heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the wild prawns into the pan and fry until golden brown. Flip, and then cook until they are fully cooked on both sides. Spot prawns cook quickly. Be careful not to overcook. Remove from pan and rest on clean paper towel while you prepare the ginger scallion sauce.
Clean the pan and heat vegetable oil over medium-high to high heat until the oil is very hot. Cook ginger until it is fully cooked and very fragrant.
Mix in the white sections of the scallions and mix quickly until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the ginger and scallions!
Make sure the heat is high, and then toss in the fried wild prawns, Chinese cooking wine, garlic, green sections of scallions, soy sauce, and white pepper. Mix quickly until excess liquid is evaporated. Toss in sesame oil and serve hot with empty shell-discard dishes.
More BC Spot Prawn Content
This post was originally published on May 9, 2018 and was updated on August 1, 2020.