Prawns,  Stir-fry,  Under $2,  Vegetables

Chinese Stir Fry: Mild Sambal Chilli Prawn with Kailan


I love boiled vegetables. I can eat broccoli, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, kailan, and most other vegetables simply boiled or steamed, without any other seasonings. The rest of my family think I am crazy- you know the Chinese, they gotta stir fry their vegetables, even lettuce– and insist that I am “doing this” because I am trying to lose weight, but no.. I really, really enjoy eating vegetables plain. I am super low maintenance like that.

So I was in the mood for some crunchy kailan stems the other day. Much as I would love to serve blanched kailan (because it is delicious) to the two old ladies at home, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t want to risk them worrying if I was so broke that I could only put boiled veggies on the table. I ended up doing a garlic sambal prawn and kailan stir-fry. You know, prawn= expensive= she-can-still-afford-it so they can sleep at night. They also finished up a huge bowl of rice each and kept telling me, “好吃,好吃。” (“yummy, yummy.”) I’m sure I wouldn’t have heard that if it had just been plain kailan.

Mild Sambal Chilli Prawn with Kailan
Serves: 2
Total cost: $3
Total cost per serving: $1.50

What I used:
20 small prawns or 10 medium prawns
Half a packet kailan, or 5 full stalks, sliced at an angle into bite-size
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon mushroom powder (if using), or substitute with 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sambal chilli (I used Singlong brand)
Half teaspoon sugar
A dash of Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon olive oil for frying

1. Heat up the olive oil in your wok, then add in shallots, garlic and sambal chilli. Fry til fragrant then add prawns.
2. When the prawns are turning pink, add in the kailan stems. Fry for a minute (I prefer them crunchy), then add the leafy part and cook til just done.
3. Sprinkle the mushroom powder or add in the oyster sauce. Add the sugar and mix well to combine.
4. Lastly, add the dash of Chinese cooking wine. Give it a quick stir then dish up.
5. Serve hot with rice.

How much I spent:
$2.50 for prawns
$0.50 for kailan
Everything else from my pantry

This dish works better if you use medium to large-sized prawns as they match with kailan better. I didn’t have those but I had a huge packet of smaller prawns in my freezer (very handy to add to noodle dishes!) so I used those. One tip to not over spend when preparing meals is to work with what you already have in your kitchen. You can also use more sambal according to your tastebuds. I am an advocate of bottled pastes and sauces because they save me so much time. If you’re someone who’s into pounding and frying your own sambal, will you send some my way? :)