Garlic Prawns Salad (Tom Cang Kho Nuoc Dua)

The name "salad" is really misleading because it's not really a salad but an entree, served on top of a bed of greens and with lots of steamed jasmine rice. Here, you get everything on one plate, protein and veggies, all ready to complete your diet for the day. These fresh water prawns are the "lobsters" of Vietnam and interestingly, the long legs are totally edible. These prawns are packed with meat that's sweet and will satisfy any shrimp and/or lobster lovers. So the next time when you're in the mood for some seafood, pick up these ginormous prawns!

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RECIPE for 5 servings

1 lb frozen prawns (5-6), available at the Vietnamese market, let them thaw out by placing under running water for a few minutes
3 large shallots, minced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs shrimp paste in soya bean oil, any Made in Thailand brand 
2 stalks of green onion, cut into 2-inches length
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 cup of coconut juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper 
2 tbs fish sauce 
2 tbs sugar 

Bed of greens:
Lettuce, tomato, various mints, and cucumber

Dipping sauce:
2 tsp of fresh lime juice
1 tsp of salt and fresh ground pepper

Use seafood shears to cut off half of the prawn head, just pass the nose (hard nub above the eyes).  Clip the long legs and claws to fit them in your pan. Remove shell, devein, but leave the tail on. 

Heat oil and add shallot and garlic, cook until fragrant, about 2-3 mins.
Add shrimp paste with soya bean oil, then fish sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar.
Add prawns and braise for 6-8 mins to allow time for the prawns to soak in all the flavors.

Place prawns on a bed of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and various mints of choice. 
Serve with jasmine steamed rice.