New Style Satay, Tempura and Scarlet Prawns

Satays always remind me of street food. The aroma of coal grilled Satay´s in the early evening, and the prospect of a chilled beer are a welcoming sight along the banks of the Mekong.

A lot of restaurants serve Satay´s, generally made with Pork or Chicken. Skewered on bamboo sticks, these grilled titbits are normally served as starters or snacks. However, seeing as most restaurants do not have a dedicated grill, many resort to deep frying the Satay´s, bamboo sticks and all.

There are many recipes for the marinades used, depending on what recipe is followed (Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai etc…). Brushing Satay´s on the grill with Coconut Milk gives off a wonderful aroma and gets the taste buds flowing.

Most Satay´s are accompanied by a Peanut Sauce. Sadly, many eateries abroad resort to using Peanut Butter mixed with Spices and Coconut Milk to make the sauce. Dry toasting raw Peanuts to make the sauce is time consuming, but well worth it.

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about a new way to serve them, as eating from bamboo sticks not only makes our diners fingers dirty, getting the last piece from the skewer doesn’t look in place over a romantic dinner.

To cut a long story short, I decided to lightly chop the meat (we use pork), and then remove the sticks after grilling them. After a few trials I decided to add a small amount of pork fat to the mixture to stop it from drying out over the high flame. Without the sticks, it is easier to eat, and the added fat makes it juicy and tender as the fat melts away when cooking.

New Style Satay Laocook

Our New Style Satay is served with Pickled Carrots, Shallots, (real) Peanut Sauce and Curry Salt.


Deep fried King Prawn Tempura is one of my favourite snacks. We use fresh “Langostinos de Sanlucar”, which have a wonderful natural sweetness, and must never be overcooked.

Tempura Stand Laocook 2

Baby Carrots and Sweetcorn with “Langostinos de Sanlucar” Tempura.

The idea is to just deep fry them in clean oil (we reserve some oil in a separate fryer for exclusive use for Tempura) for a minute or so.

They will continue to cook when removed from the oil, the batter acts insulation to the harsh heat of the oil, basically “steaming” the flesh whilst the batter crisps on the outside. We never drain any Tempura on kitchen towels, as this can make them soggy, instead we use a wire rack.

They must be served as soon as possible.

Tempura Stand Laocook

The Baby Carrots and Sweetcorn´s inherent sweetness matches that of the King Prawns and also provide a nice crunchiness to the dish.

Talking about King Prawns, we have been working with some rather different ones lately.

Scarlet Prawns Laocook 3

These Scarlet Prawns are called “Carabineros” and fetch higher prices than Lobsters.

Scarlet Prawns Laocook 2

Like many expensive ingredients, they are well worth it.

Scarlet Prawns Laocook Body

The flesh is very delicate, so it should always be served “undercooked”. The best part of the Carabineros is in the head.

Scarlet Prawn Heads Laocook

In many Spanish Seafood Restaurants, these are grilled whole, then a hole is cut into the head so that the goodies inside can be eaten in spoonfuls. Though this looks spectacular, in my opinion the meat is always overcooked, or the head raw and still cold.

Our way of serving them is to very lightly cook the meat, remove it from the pan then make a sauce with the juice from the head “a la minute”.

Scarlet Prawn Sauce Laocook

The insides of the head are squeezed in to a pan before being heated and lightly seasoned.

Scarlet Prawn Sauce Laocook 2

The result is a very intense sauce, so only a little is needed, drizzled over the meat and served with a nice Rosé wine 🙂 .


11 thoughts on “New Style Satay, Tempura and Scarlet Prawns

  1. Nice! I’ve been working with some tiger prawns today, since I got them fresh, and I was amazed by the size, the taste, oh and especially the head, lots of meat in there. It was my first time eating them, so I bet I overcooked them by a minute or two minutes, because I could stand the meat to be a little softer … still, damn tasty!

    P.s. Im coming to Spain during wednesday or on thursday, to catch the european cup semifinals in some bar somewhere. Currently I’m thinking about Barcelona and Madrid, not much further to the west. I hope to have a good time and to see Spain go to the finals 🙂

  2. Hola Black,

    Make sure that you dont overcook your next batch! 😆

    Both Barcelona and Madrid are cool places, especially with Spain in the Semi-finals.

    At the Plaza de Colon in Madrid, they showed the Quarter-finals against Italy, so I guess that they will also show the semis.

    No matter where you watch it, I am sure that it will be fun. Ole!

  3. Hello there,
    You often say that in the kitchen you and your colleagues love  eating the head of prawn, lobsters etc…
    I’ve always been wondering, what exactly is to be eaten in the head ? everything that is inside ? is it necessary to avoid the small pouch of stone ? Does it need to be cooked longer than the meat of the body ?

    this is a bit confusing for a European living far away from the sea ^^

  4. Hi Antoine,

    I guess it is all to do with personal taste. The head is full edible bits, and when cooked right, taste wonderful. The cooking time depends on the size of the Lobster/ Prawn in question.

    If you are “undercooking” the tail meat, then yes, the head should be cooked for a little longer. If undercooking the meat is not your taste, then cook the whole thing until done, and the head will be cooked all the way through.

    The “green jelly-like meat” is the “Tomalley” , the Lobsters´ liver. The “orange meat” is the Coral. Personally they are the best parts of the Lobster for me. 🙂

    The only part that you should discard is the sac, found behind the eyes, otherwise, get a spoon and tuck in…. 😉

  5. LOVE those prawns! Never seen such huge ones. I too love the coral, and make a riff off a traditional Virginia she-crab soup using lobster meat from the bodies and the coral. It’s like a light bisque, made with lobster broth and a little heavy cream at the end.

  6. Vienne, we wen’t to Barcelona, where we partied in a more private korean/chinese venue, drank lots od beer and tequila sunrises and whatnot, and rejoyed after the 3:0 win of spain over russia. It was awesome. I also had a chance to visit las ramblas, la boqueria, to see some incredible produce, and take back some spices with me, and some chorizo sausages. It’s really hard to get those around here, definetly not common.

    All in all, we had a great time in Catalunya and are definetly returning sometime, but by plane. Coming by car was a little overkill, since we wasted like 2 days driving over 3000km return trip.

    But we did relax a bit on the way back, since we decided to stop in Lloret del Mar, it’s the little choices that made our trip brilliant.

    Next time, I’dd like to meet you so we could have some one on one beer and food time, if you would like. Judging by the food you create, and your helpfull comments, you are very much a person I would like to meet some day 🙂

    Best regards,

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  10. My wife and I just had some of these prawns. Following all this enthusiasm, we pour d the contents out of the head and dipped our bread into the considerable puddle which this created. This famous sauce tasted great for about 5 seconds, then we both experienced an unpleasant and intense aftertaste. To me it was like sand in the mouth (but there is no physical “sand” – just some kind of chemical effect which replicated this sensation). My wife had an intense, almost allergic, reaction, which took her away from the dining table for 10 minutes whilst she drank several pints of water. She said if I had not been there, she would have rung for an ambulance because it was such a negative, “never experienced before” sensation. Then she recovered.

  11. Wow, sorry to hear about that. Maybe you had a bad batch of prawns, or maybe they we not as fresh as the restaurant led you to believe.

    I hope this experience doesn’t put you off Scarlet Prawns, though I would imagine that for Mrs. Blair, it has. 😦

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