Posts Tagged ‘seafood’

Prawns Thermidor

Noche Buena is a traditional celebration in the Philippines.  Literally meaning “Good Night”, this usually entails families gathering on the eve of Christmas for a late family meal.  Growing up, I had two Noche Buenas.  The first one was celebrated with my Dad’s family and the second and later one, with my Mom’s. For Noche Buena with my Dad’s relatives we would spend each year in his sister’s house.  My Tita Bebe (my father’s elder sister) would prepare a fantastic feast but the one dish that really stood out for me were the Prawns Thermidor.  I’ve always associated this dish as being so decadent and festive.  She would prepare this dish by

  1. removing the prawn meat but keeping the shells whole
  2. preparing the thermidor sauce and adding  the prawn meat
  3. stuffing the prawn thermidor into the shells
  4. and finally baking them

You can imagine what a laborious process, especially when feeding her family and friends, but I guess she really only had to do it once a year!

Prawns Thermidor

When I moved to Sydney and was going to spend our first Christmas away from Manila, I immediately emailed my Aunt for the recipe.  Since then, it has been one of my staple dishes – it’s a sure crowd pleaser and if you are not inclined to stuff the prawns, just place it in a festive serving dish.  So here’s my favourite Noche Buena dish.  Enjoy!  And as we say in the Philippines – Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!)

Recipe (serves 5 as part of several main dishes)

  • 10 king prawns
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
  • 5 to 10 button mushrooms (depending on size), diced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheese (I used parmesan and gruyere)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Remove the prawn meat from the prawns by placing the prawn on a chopping board (eyes facing upwards), cutting the prawns in the middle with knife, or use scissors.  Carefully remove the prawn meat, keeping the shells intact.

    Prawn Shells

  2. Once the meat is removed, cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. Heat the olive oil and saute the onion until translucent.  Add the carrot and celery stalk and cook until soft, around 5 minutes.
  4. Next, add the red pepper and saute until soft, around 10 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for around 5 minutes.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the while wine and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Add in the flour and cook out for 3 to 5 minutes.  Slowly add in the milk until the mixture thickens.
  8. Lastly, add the prawn meat and heat until just cooked.
  9. Cool the mixture and then stuff the prawn shells with the cooled prawn thermidor sauce (if you are not stuffing shells, just place in a serving dish)

    Prawn Thermidor Filling

  10. Top with cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 180c (fan forced for 15 minutes).

Prawns prior to baking

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!

Trissa, Kath and Trish



Welcome new Kulinarya Members (if I have missed anyone out PLEASE email me!)

Olive http://www.latestrecipes.net/
Caroline http://whenadobometfeijoada.blogspot.com/
Peachy http://www.thepeachkitchen.com/

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The Spanish Pasta Dish to Rival Paella

Fideos (“Toasted Pasta” Paella)

It must be difficult being a noodle in Spain.  How can you stand up to the wonderful rice dishes that the Spaniards are known for.  Almost every Spanish cookbook I own will have a section on Paellas*, and at the back of the section is maybe one (if lucky) recipe on the fideos.  It doesn’t even get its own section!   It’s a pity that fideos tends to take second place to the Paella when I think it is just as delicious – and for me, a much more forgiving dish!

Fideos, translated into english, refers to noodles – they are thin pieces of noodles, no longer than your thumb.  Many recipes call for fideo noodles, there is no reason why you can’t use thin spaghetti or angel hair noodles, broken into 1.5 to 2 inch lengths.  In my Mom’s restaurant they used to bake their fideos with pork spareribs and sausages but today I’ve decided to share with you my version – with mussels and prawns.  A little bit healthier and just as good!

I like to think of fideos as the rebel dish.  It breaks a lot of rules!  Let me explain… with most pasta dishes you throw your noodles into a large pot of boiling water, enough water so that the pasta has enough space to float around.  With fideos, traditionally they are made in a paella pan and only enough liquid is placed so that the noodles absorb the cooking broth resulting in a rich, and flavourful dish.  When making a paella, I’ve been taught, once you add the broth, do not stir rice around.  How many of us have been tempted to STIR when we were told NOT TO STIR?!  Well, as I said, fideos is more forgiving – you stir the dish often enough until you see that the liquid has coated the noodles and seafood in an almost syrup like coating.

Traditionally fideos has been made with saffron.  If you aren’t willing to spend on good quality saffron, I wouldn’t even bother putting it as inferior quality saffron will hardly make a dent in the taste.  If you can’t get a hold of saffron, or don’t wish to shell out the money for it, I suggest you omit it completely.

Also, this is traditionally made in a paella pan.  Tonight, I couldn’t be bothered and  used a heavy based pan instead.  It turned out just as well!

As I said – this dish breaks a lot of rules!

Prawn and Mussel Fideos

Recipe (for two)

  • 120 grams fideos or dried angel hair pasta, broken into 2 inch lenghts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2oo grams canned tomatoes,  crushed
  • 375 ml fish or chicken stock (good quality store bought is fine)
  • 70 ml dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 large prawns, peeled and deveined
  • a handful of mussels, cleaned and debearded OR you can use clams or a combination
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and lightly fry the fideos noodles until golden brown but not burned.   This should take around 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the noodles from the pan and set aside
  3. Next, add more olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until translucent.
  4. Add the sweet paprika and the canned tomatoes and cook until the tomato sauce is thick, this will take around 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. In a separate pan, heat the stock, white wine and the bay leaf.    Once boiling, add this to the tomato sauce.
  6. Immediately add the noodles and stir frequently until the noodles have absorbed the liquid.  This took me around 15 minutes.
  7. When you can see that the noodles are almost done, add the seafood and simmer gently for a minute or two until the prawns are cooked through and the mussels have fully opened.
  8. Serve immediately.


*Interestingly enough, what we have come to know as Paella the rice dish made with all sorts of wonderful toppings from seafood, chorizo, rabbit etc., actually refers to the pan in which they are made in.  Over time however, people have started referring to the dish inself and not the pan as Paella.

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