Lerato’s garlic prawns with stir fried spinach
Still in the season of love, I am sharing recipes that will dazzle. Simple food can be just as dazzling, simple food can also be sumptuous food and memorable. I often cook my best recipes out of sheer necessity to quench hunger. But I can be quite the difficult eater, even when starving with little time to create a spectacular spread, I still want the meal to be memorable. Sometimes bread and butter just isn’t enough. This type of hunger is not entirely physical, as it is emotional and may be even spiritual. This happens to most of us, and this is why many do not enjoy cooking; they feel too much pressure to think, plan and create a meal that is easy, yet memorable. This prawn and spinach stir-fry is one of such recipes, I cooked out of necessity to quench hunger. It was quick, a joy to cook and quite memorable.
Contrary to common practice in African cooking it is unnecessary to boil the greens in a sauce, this recipe does not call for it, so resist the temptation. What is referred to as ‘cray fish’ in West Africa is not the actual large clawed cray fish, instead it is often salt smoked and dried shrimp, and so using dried shrimp will be just as wonderful. The greens also offer lot of flexibility. Use pumpkin leaves (ugwu), efo tete or any other spinach or kale variety you can find. As I often say, use what you have and make this recipe your own.
Feeds 2 hungry tummies
Cooking Time 15 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
1 small scotch bonnet, finely chopped
2 tsp ground ‘cray fish’/dried shrimps
4 handfuls spinach
1 stock cube
1 garlic clove, chopped
¼ tsp salt
Let’s get cooking!
In a wok or large frying pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil, add the chopped onions and cook on low heat for 3 minutes. Add the scotch bonnet and ‘cray fish’, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the washed and torn spinach (chop it you prefer, I like them in larger chunks), finally add the stock cubes, taste and increase the heat to medium. Greens do retain water especially after washing, and so you will notice a bit of liquid as the green cook. Cray fish is also salty, so taste first before deciding if salt is needed. After 5 minutes of cooking the greens, take it off the heat and serve in a plate.
In the same wok or pan, add the remaining tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped garlic, prawns and salt. Stir and cook the prawns for 4 – 5 minutes until the prawns are cooked through and turned pink. Serve on the cooked greens. Easy peasy!
Cook’s tip: Serve with plantains, rice, steamed potatoes, or on its own. Try this recipe with smoked chicken or fish that some of us usually have sitting in the refrigerator.
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