This dish is named after a pear-shaped Chinese string instrument, the pei pa, and the recipe uses Chinese soup spoons to produce the same shape. The Chinese method of mashing or chopping some of the prawn meat to make a paste and beating it against a bowl is used to produce a slightly bouncy texture on the palate. The recipe is pretty straightforward, though you will notice the cooking time is quite precise.
- 4 large uncooked prawns (70gm each), peeled and deveined
- 390 gm silken egg tofu, coarsely chopped (see note)
- 1 lap cheong sausage (about 40gm), finely diced
- 2 spring onions (white part only), thinly sliced into rings
- 2 shiitake mushrooms, finely diced
- 1½ tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp potato starch (see note)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
- 12 sugar snap peas, trimmed
- 125 ml (½ cup) chicken stock
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- ½ tsp vegetable oil
- Dash of dark soy, or to taste
- ½ tsp potato starch mixed with 1 tbsp water
- 1Cut half the prawns into small dice, add a pinch of salt, then chop finely to form a paste and combine in a bowl with tofu, lap cheong, spring onion, shiitake mushrooms, ½ tsp sesame oil, potato starch and salt. Mix well, then dice remaining prawns and stir into mixture.
- 2Brush 12 Chinese soup spoons lightly with oil. Divide half the tofu mixture evenly among the spoons, spreading to fill. Place spoons in a steamer over a saucepan of boiling water and steam until firm (4 minutes). Remove and, when cool enough to handle, gently ease the cooked tofu onto a plate. Set aside and repeat with remaining tofu.
- 3Blanch sugar snap peas until just tender (1-2 minutes), refresh in cold water and toss with remaining sesame oil.
- 4Heat vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add tofu pieces in batches and pan-fry, turning once, until just golden (1-2 minutes). Transfer to a serving plate.
- 5For crystal sauce, bring chicken stock, oyster sauce, oil and dark soy to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add potato starch slurry and stir continuously over high heat until thick (1 minute). Spoon sauce over the tofu and serve with sugar snap peas alongside.
Note Silken egg tofu is available from Asian grocers. Potato starch is available from Asian grocers and select supermarkets. Potato starch is available from Asian grocers and select supermarkets.
Drink Suggestion: Rousanne will complement both the prawns and the Chinese sausage. Drink suggestion by Jason Lui