This was the last meal I cooked in my kitchen in Hong Kong. A meal just for me. I should have been a bag of stress with all the organising left to do, but instead cooking was relaxed and comforting.
I’ve been moving countries for awhile now. Three continents in four years. It’s sort of strange to say out loud. I’ve gotten used to living with less. Used to different ways of life and thinking. Used to leaving friends and making new ones. It’s becoming easier and easier to push the reset button. I don’t know if this is necessarily a good thing.
Once again I am about to pack up everything I own, ship it across the world, and live out of a suitcase for the next month. In some ways this is kind of fun, because you can surprise yourself with how resourceful and flexible you can be. On the other hand, I will miss my knives and Le Creuset.
The other day, I asked Tom what food he missed most. Fruit was his answer. I have to say, I already know this is going to be a tough bullet to bite. I have gotten used to going to markets with amazing variety and quality at ridiculously cheap prices. I can have perfect mangoes and papayas whenever I want. I’ve really been able to explore seasonality and experiment. I’ve discovered new fruits (yangmei) and tried some fresh for the very first time (lychee). For this recipe I was going to make a pineapple salsa, but noticed that starfruit are in season right now. I grabbed three of them for $10HKD. I can’t tell you how much I will miss this.
Knowing that the movers were on their way, I’d already been slowly cleaning out the fridge. Along with bags of chicken carcasses and prawn heads dying in the freezer, there were two packages of corn tortillas that I’d brought back from the US. There couldn’t have been a better excuse to make one of my favourite meals -tacos.
Bourbon Chipotle Prawn Tacos with Starfruit Salsa
I’m kind of obsessed with foods that I can’t have. In London, it was pizza. In Hong Kong, it’s Mexican. I’m actually surprised that Hong Kong has a serious void in this arena. Good Mexican is easy to make. And there’s plenty of fresh produce available here, all that’s needed are the chiles. If I can buy Boulder Potato Chips in the grocery store, why can’t I find a simple can of chipotle in adobo? So when my mom came to visit, I made her my spice mule. She carted over dried chiles of all kinds -chipotle, habanero, guajillo. After that, I was able to survive for the rest of the year.
For the prawns
- 500 g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- Chipotle chile powder
- Habanero chile powder (or 1 freshly minced if you have access)
- Guajillo chile powder
- olive oil
- smoked salt
I bought live prawns which I killed and cleaned, but if you don’t want to feel guilty for causing a massacre, go for the ones that are already “sleeping” at the fishmongers.
For the salsa
- 3 starfruits
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 2 green chiles or jalapenos, finely diced
- 1 bunch of coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
- Juice of 1 or 2 limes
- smoked salt
Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm in the oven at 150C. Heat a skillet until hot and then toss in the prawns. Saute for a few minutes, then add a splash of bourbon. Continue to saute for another minute.