Kasu Oregon Spot Prawns with Chinese Pickled Cucumbers
Skewered and grilled, these marinated prawns have a decidedly Eastern flavor. They are marinated in kasu and served with pickled cucumbers. Kasu is a paste made from the lees of sake pressings. Highly flavorful, it can be obtained at Asian markets and many large supermarkets. The Oregon spot prawn is a cold water prawn with a sweet flavor. Substitute similar prawns.
- Chinese Pickled Cucumbers
- Cucumbers - 2 medium
- Rice Wine Vinegar - 1 cup
- Sugar - 2 tablespoons
- Ginger - 2 tablespoons, minced
- Garlic - 2 tablespoons, mashed
- Chili Flakes - 1/4 teaspoon, or to taste
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Kasu Prawns
- Kasu - 1/4 cup
- Sugar - 1 teaspoon
- Sake - 4 tablespoons
- Oregon spot prawns or similar prawns - 20 to 24, shelled and deveined, tails on
- Bamboo Skewers - 6, soaked in water
- Olive Oil - 4 tablespoons
- Finely shredded red cabbage - 1 cup
- Black Sesame Seeds - 1 tablespoon
- Nasturtiums - 4 (optional)
To prepare the cucumbers: Cut the ends off the cucumbers, then cut each cucumber in half lengthwise. It is not necessary to remove the seeds. Cut “chips” 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick from each half. Place the cucumber pieces in a heatproof, non-aluminum container. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling marinade over the cucumbers and set aside to cool. The cucumbers should marinate at least 2 hours. They may be served at room temperature, or chilled.
To prepare the prawns: Mix the kasu, sugar, and sake together in a non-aluminum bowl. Add the prawns, turn to coat, and marinate for at least 3 hours, or, preferably, overnight. Divide the prawns among the skewers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Heat one or two large saute pans until very hot. Add the olive oil and tilt the pan to coat the bottom. Add the skewered prawns and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook 2 more minutes. The kasu will burn onto the prawns, giving a distinctive flavor.
To serve: Spoon marinated cucumbers on the serving plates. Sprinkle red cabbage over and around the cucumbers, then sprinkle the plates with sesame seeds. Place one skewer of prawns on each plate. Garnish with a nasturtium flower if desired.