11 January 2014

Steamed Prawn and Spring Onion Rice Rolls

Some days I wish I could pop out for Dim Sum, but the very few Chinese restaurant there are in Doha don't do Yum Char. One of my favourite dishes is steamed rice rolls - they come with various stuffings, beef and spring onion, pork and water chestnuts, and one of my favourites is quite simply prawns and spring onion with crispy pork skins on top. I've never made steamed rice rolls before so I thought I'd give it a go, after a couple of failed attempts, largely because I was using a glass tray, rather than tin or metal, they were easy to produce - incidentally the failed attempts tasted great, they just didn't look too pretty. The hero of the dish is the sauce, the rolls themselves provide the texture, the sauce packs a wollop of flavour, and the combination is sublime.

Steamed Prawn and Spring Onion Rice Rolls

  • 140 grams Rice Flour
  • 5 tablespoons Tapioca flour (or tapioca pearls, ground in a spice grinder)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • oil for greasing

for the filling
  • 300 grams raw prawns, peeled, deveined, and chopped
  • 4 spring onions, cleaned and chopped

for the sauce
  • 50ml light soy sauce
  • 50ml water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 thai red chili chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1cm thumb of ginger, julienned


1.   Mix the flours together, and add oil. Use your hands to rub in the oil, so that it resembles breadcrumbs and gets rid of any lumps. Add water gradually, stirring with a whisk to remove the lumps. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes and whisk again.

2.   Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a pot, heat over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

3.   Cook the prawns over a medium heat, stirring well until pink. Set aside.

4.  To make the rolls, brush a metal pan with oil (I used a disposable foil takeaway container), pop into the wok set over boiling water for 1 minute to allow the bottom to heat. Mix the batter again and ladle in a small amount, spreading as thinly as you can. Sprinkle on the cooked prawns and spring onions. Cover and steam for 3 to 4 minutes until the batter is opaque and firm. 

5.   Remove from the heat, and using a spatula, carefully roll the rolls up as you remove them. The photos below show a plain roll, no filling, to show the method. The filled ones need to be as thin as you can to ensure they roll easily.

6.   Serve the rolls hot with a generous amount of the sauce poured over top. Adding extra spring onion and chillies (optional) for a garnish.

7 January 2014

Chicken and Prawn Jambalaya

I tend to head to South East Asia in my cooking when I'm looking for spice - this dish is one of my exceptions. Jambalaya is a cajun dish, originating from the Caribbean Islands, and very popular in the Southern States. The best jambalaya I have eaten was in a tiny little Creole cafe in New Orleans. Jambalaya is a lovely blend of spices and rice, and you can pretty much throw anything in there, traditionally it's a bit of a surf and turf number with prawns, chicken and spicy sausage. 

One of the things I love about this dish is that the devil is in the preparation, you feel like you're chopping for Africa, but once the ingredients are ready (which can be prepared earlier in the day), the dish takes 10 minutes to start the cooking process and another twenty or so to cook (all on it's own - isn't it clever?), and then you can sit down and enjoy it. 

Cajun Jambalaya

  • 200 grams of chicken cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 100 grams bacon, chopped
  • 2 chorizo sausages, chopped into 1cm slices or cubes
  • 1 green capsicum, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 1 red chile, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons cajun spice mix
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 250ml lager  beer
  • 400 grams of canned diced tomatoes, or 3 large tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 3 tablespoons warm water (optional)
  • 200 grams large prawns, peeled and deveined


1.   Heat the oil in a deep wok or pan, and fry the chicken for a few minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

2.   Add the onion to the pan and cook for a few minutes until softened, then add the bacon, sausage and garlic and cook for a few minutes until browned. Add capsicum, chile, paprika, and cajun spice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

3.   Add the rice, stir to coat and cook for a minute for the rice to absorb the spices. Add the beer and stir well. Stir in the stock, saffron and liquid and tomatoes. Simmer covered for 10 minutes.

4.   Add the chicken back in and the prawns and cook for a few minutes until prawns are pink and cooked through. Serve in bowls and enjoy!