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Hawaiian Garlic Butter Prawns

Week 3 of Food Network Star down. And what dish did this girl cook? Hawaiian Garlic Butter Prawns. Duh. This is a dish that I have made before. In fact, I am recycling this blog post. I am a busy stay at home mom. (Yeah, I am going to over sell the shiz out of it now people of Twitter.) A girl has got to save time where she can. Am I right? I tell you this, since I am actually going to keep my old intro (featured below). It isn't that it is a work of literary genius of anything. But I have a mildly interesting life story associated with it. So you get old blog post and new blog post merged into one. I don't know if inserting you're welcome here is the way to go, so for once I will omit that.

So week 3 of Food Network Star featured "All Terrain Eats". I was on Team Addie (super excited after our awesome team last week). And everything kind of fell together. We each got our desired terrain. I live in Honolulu, Hawaii. And we spend an obscene amount of time at the beach, so it was perfect for me. Yay me. I have cooked this dish before, so I was pretty comfortable with it. Cooking it on Food Network Star was EXACTLY the same. You know, except that it wasn't. No extra pressure. Just cooking for Bobby, Giada and Tyler and a bunch of other people. People who had to chose me, pick my dish head-to-head over the most accomplished chef in the competition. And just for good measure lets throw in time constraints, video presentations and a national viewing platform followed by uneducated judgments from the people of twitter. Exactly the same.

I will still maintain that Cory is the better chef. But my vibrant personality won the crowd over and I came out of top with more votes, landing me in the top AGAIN! (I have to credit my team for my top tier status on week 2. We worked really well together and my dish may not have stood on its own.) This amateur chef, amateur artist, amateur everything has been in the top each week; the only one I might add.

(Cue original blog post introduction...)

Beautiful, isn’t it? Before I say what I am about to say, know this dish was also absolutely delicious! But the actual dish that we ate represented a little bit more of the morning after instead of cocktail goggles and bar lighting. Because let’s be honest, we do eat with our eyes first. So, “naturally” my pineapple has perfect grill marks and its colorful skin on. I always eat my pineapple skin? I also keep my prawn tails on even when not taking photos (also false). And the jalapenos remained a vibrant green color even after being pickled? The taste was on pointe, but it looked like a stirred up bowl of random stuff instead of a piece of art.

Just ask my dear friend Michelle. I sent over a giant disposable foil container of this stuff to her home. She had dislocated her shoulder while sailing. And after her original drug induced request for Kraft Macaroni (very specific about the Kraft) and two different kinds of chocolate ice cream, I realized she would need “actual” food as well. Because not only had she dislocated her shoulder, her other one was gimpy and she had very recently had Lasik. This girl was down for the count. The final food product I turned over to her looked a little less like a Courtesan and more like a dime store hooker. (Flavors were there though.) I sent her the picture I took for the food blog, then delivered something totally different looking. But it was cooked with love and perfect flavors, so oh-darn-well. Plus, the girl was high on pain meds, so who was she to make small observations.

Now that I’ve put my dish down, allow me to build it back up. Fragrant and fluffy coconut rice, fresh crisp cucumbers and seriously succulent black tiger prawns with a buttery garlic sauce, plus a tart/sweet Hawaiian pineapple… There IS a reason that Hawaiian Garlic Butter Prawns is a food truck staple at food trucks around here! This stuff is legit. It is a perfect marriage of mostly savory with a little sweet. It is totally filling and just pretty much a bowl of happiness. And with this year’s apocalyptic elections, who doesn’t want a bowl of happiness?!?! There really are few things in life that are better than authentic local food. That is unless, of course, you are fully capable of recreating it in your own kitchen. That is where I come in! Ta-da! Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo. Put 'em together and what have you got… Amy is magic for you! (Spell check is going crazy right now!!!)

So I totally wrote this recipe to serve 12ish? Thanks to elementary level math skills, I have been able to reduce it down to non-party size. But if any measurements seem random, like ¼ cup and 1 tbsp… that is why.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients/Instructions for the Garlic Butter Prawns:

1 ½-2 lbs black tiger prawns (you can use something smaller or larger but cooking times will vary)

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup butter

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

½ tsp cayenne

½ cup packed, chopped parsley (fresh), more for garnish (optional)

6-9 cloves crushed garlic

1 lemon

Marinade those suckers!!! I like to marinade over night if I can. If you don’t have that much time, please marinate for at least 2 hours to achieve optimal flavor infusion.

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine olive oil, butter, crushed/pressed/minced garlic, chopped parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir well.

  2. Clean and dry your prawns. You can keep the tails on or remove them, butterfly them or not. Totally your call.

  3. Add your prawns and gently fold/stir into the mixture. Cover and allow them to marinade at room temperature for about 1 hour. When you put them in the refrigerator the butter will solidify. If you keep them on the counter all night, you will get food poisoning. Refrigerate/marinade 2-12 hours.

  4. I used a cast iron skillet to cook my prawns in. I did this so that the glorious garlicky, buttery marinade would could and could be used as a “sauce”. If you decide to grill your prawns, make sure you cook the liquid on a medium high heat long enough to kill off any of the “raw” prawn “juice”.

  5. Use a fork or slotted spoon to remove the prawns from the marinade. Cook for 2-3 minutes on one side, flip and pour the marinade in. Keep in mind, I had really big, beautiful black tiger prawns. If yours are smaller, then the cook time will be less. Also, if you cook a smaller quantity, they will cook quicker. There is nothing sadder than a rubbery shrimpy. If your prawns are looking done, remove them from heat. But continue to cook the “sauce” for a few more minutes.

Ingredients/Instructions for the Pickled Jalapenos:

1 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp salt

2 tbsp white sugar

4-5 jalapenos

1. Add the vinegar, water, salt and pepper to a lidded mixing bowl. Stir well.

2. Thinly slice your jalapenos. You have a few options here. A) Clean your jalapenos. B) Stop cutting when you get to the seeds/ribs. C) Have spicy AF pickled jalapenos. Your call!

3. Cover and refrigerate the sliced jalapenos, in pickling liquid, for 2-6 hours.

Ingredients/Instructions for the Coconut Rice:

2 cups white rice

1 can Thai coconut milk

1 cups water

1. Add the ingredients to your rice cooker.

2. Press the white rice button and wait 30 minutes or so.

I am pretty confident in your ability to execute this.

Ingredients/Instructions for the Grilled Pineapple:

1 Pineapple

1. Slice the top, bottom and exterior sides of your pineapple off, as discussed above. Haha.

2. Slice it roughly 1" thick or so.

3. I like to grill it in slices or rings. There is less flipping of small pineapple pieces that way.

4. Then cut it into wedges, triangles, bite sizes pieces... whatever your little heart desires.

For the Shredded Cucumber:

1 English cucumber

Totally optional! But I like to add texture and flavor dimensions to my food. I am glad I added this one, although it did not make or break the dish.

1. I simply took an English Cucumber and ran it down my mandolin. You could also slice or shred by hand (tedious, go buy a mandolin) if you don’t have one. I used the thinnest shredding insertion that I had. I also do this in my poke bowls, and there is something out this thinly shredded cucumber that is so much better than any other way or eating cucumber.


Scoop in a base on coconut rice. Add prawns and a tbsp or two. of “sauce”, grilled pineapple and sliced cucumber and a few pickled jalapenos. Squeeze some fresh lemon over your prawns.

Enjoy! I know Bobby and Giada did.

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