A Cook's Plot

Fish & Shellfish

Ginger and Soy Prawns with Black Rice

I’ve haven’t had time to add many new recipes to my blog over the past few months, because I’ve been super-busy, and not just with my normal work… My niece, Imogen, who is in her fourth year of a medical degree at Oxford, has been helping children in Hong Kong practice their English via Zoom for the past few years. When Covid struck and schools there were closed, the demand for English tutors went through the roof - so I got involved too. And it turns out that I love teaching! Who’d have thought it? Even though schools in Hong Kong have now reopened, I’ve still got most of my students and I’m really enjoying not only teaching them but also, while helping them to practice their spoken English, finding out all about their everyday lives and culture in what’s quite a unique way.

Among my best students are Kevin and Alan, two very intelligent eleven-year-old friends. A few months ago, Kevin’s mum, Victoria Wu, was looking for a recipe for fig tarts and when she Googled it, guess which recipe was one of the first to come up in the search results - A Cook’s Plot’s! I was over the moon when Kevin told me. The holy grail for bloggers is for your blog to pop up easily when people do a Google search anywhere in the world and, luckily, Mrs Wu recognised the name of her son’s English tutor and let him know that she’d come across it.

Our mutual love of food established, when Kevin told me one day that he’d just had black rice for lunch, I asked him to find out more from his mum about this ingredient that I’d not come across before. I’d assumed it must be like black wild rice but in fact it’s a special Asian form with a distinctly different and deliciously nutty taste. Not to mention an amazing purple/black colour that looks great on the plate. Best of all, Mrs Wu’s assertion that black rice is super-healthy was spot on - it’s packed with antioxidants, among other things, in much higher quantities than white rice.

The kind used in Hong Kong is short-grain black rice, which I imagine has the lovely texture when cooked of what we know from Chinese food in England as ‘sticky rice’. The short-grain version seems to be impossible to find online here (when lockdown number 2 is over in England, I will try and seek it out in London’s Chinatown). But I did manage to find a long grain version of it sold by Sainsbury’s and Waitrose as ‘Thai black rice’, so that’s what I’ve used in my recipe. Highly recommended! Thank you, Kevin and Mrs Wu, for telling me about black rice - I’m going to be using a it a lot from now on.


Serves 2

  • 160g black rice (or wild rice if you can't find black rice)
  • Bunch spring onions, sliced
  • Half a red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • Juice of a lime
  • Half tsp honey
  • 10 large, shelled, uncooked prawns
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped


Boil the rice in well-salted water with half the spring onions and the chilli for 25-30 mins until just tender. Meanwhile, sauté the red pepper with a little oil in a frying pan. When it's just soft, add the soy sauce, rice wine, grated ginger, lime juice and honey. Bubble for a few seconds then add the prawns and stir fry over a high heat until pink. Season well and serve over the rice, garnished with lots of chopped coriander.

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