Prawn Parcels in Aromatic Asian Broth



for the broth
chicken carcass from whole bird or 10 chicken wings
5 small pork spare ribs or bones
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
10 cloves
1tsp white peppercorn
1tsp salt
1tbsp fennel seed
whole bulb of garlic, crushed
1inch ginger, roughly sliced
1 onion, halved

for the parcels
250g raw king prawns
1/2 inch ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
2 green chilli, roughly chopped (use less if you don't like it hot)
handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
180g cooked rice
2tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
pinch of ground white pepper
4-8 savoy cabbage leaves
salt to season

for the garnish
Shichimi powder (optional)
some thinly sliced red chilli and spring onion

This is the sort of food I want to eat when I want to feel clean and nourished. The aromatic broth has a good balance of aniseed flavour that gently excites the palate. Sweet juicy prawns and herby rice mixture wrapped up in cabbage leaves are a delight on there own. If you decide to skip the broth and make the parcels only, I would recommend steaming them for 10mins or so, until prawns are cooked and serve it with some soy dipping sauce. Good chilli oil will also be a good addition.

I have used prawns for this recipe but do feel free to use other ground meat or even maybe some mushrooms if you prefer. Just remember to season well and you are able to bind the filling. Prawns will naturally hold everything together better than mushrooms, when blitzed. If you are going to use mushrooms as your choice of filling, you might want to blanch them first to remove some excess water, and season well with some soy sauce and sesame oil and use slightly stickier rice.
It can appear a bit fiddly to make, but it is well worth the effort.

how to

First of all, put all the ingredients for the broth in a large sauce pan, and fill it with water, about 2-2.5 litre. Bring it to boil, gently simmer for 2-3 hours. You will need to occasionally skim the scums. Let it cool down a little when ready, and run it through the sieve to collect the liquid.
Now, you want to keep this broth in the fridge for a while, preferably overnight, or until the fat sets hard on the surface so it is easy to remove the fat from the broth. 
If you are short on time, use a good fresh chicken stock. You will need about 1 litre. Add the aromatics and let them simmer for 30mins or so to get the anise flavour. It is a reasonable short cut.

For the parcels, bring the water to boil in the medium sauce pan, put the savoy cabbage leaves, add pinch of salt, and boil them for about minute or so until the leaves are softened a little.
Rinse the cabbage leaves in ice cold water, drain and give it a good squeeze to remove all excess water.
Carefully spread each leaves on to your chopping board, remove as much as of the hard stem bits in the middle, and set a side.

Now, onto the prawn filling. Place prawns, ginger, chilli, garlic, coriander and spring onion into your food processor, and whizz them up until it resembles a course paste.
Tip those into a large mixing bowl, add your cooked rice, mirin, soy sauce and white pepper, and give it a good stir. I use mixture of red and white rice for texture.

To make the parcel, place your cabbage leave onto the clean surface, and spoon the prawn mixture onto the cabbage. 
You want to start wrapping this up by folding the softer bottom end of cabbage leaves first rather than the stem end, then the sides and just roll them until you get to the stem end. Secure it with couple of cocktail sticks.
Repeat the process until you finish the filling. You will get at least four.

Put your broth you made earlier in a large shallow saucepan and bring it to simmer. Season to taste.
Place your prawn parcels, and simmer gently for about 15mins.

Serve with the sprinkle of Shichimi powder, thinly sliced red chilli and spring onion.