Using the best of Gascoyne produce, inspired by his native Peru, Alejandro Saravia, Executive Chef at Uma restaurant shares his recipe for Camarones a la Piedra.
“Traditionally a stone, flat and hot, would be used to cook the prawns and then they’re dressed with the sauce. It’s a dish from the south of Peru, Arequipa, between the coast and the interior. It champions freshwater prawns the size of yabbies.
We’re using King Prawns from Shark Bay. I peel the tail and leave the head on. In my culture it’s important, as if you lose the head you lose 80% of the flavour. It’s just delicious to suck on the prawn heads.
In this interpretation the smokiness of the charcoal is the charred eggplant. Gascoyne eggplants are great; they’re plump, a really good size and of course they’re very good quality. I get them from Karyn Wiggins at Moore Veggies in Carnarvon.
The sauce that I use at Uma uses Aji Panca and Aji Amarillo chilli which are imported. We source the vast majority of our produce and proteins from Western Australia, but this is my small exception; an essential part of recreating my Peruvian heritage at Uma. But as a substitute, cooking at home, you could roast a capsicum from the Gascoyne, peel it and then blend it with a long red chilli from up there. There’s a misconception that Peruvian food is about heat but it’s actually milder than you think, nuanced, so we’re not going for heat.”
Camarones a la Piedra. Serves 4.
8 whole Shark Bay U10 King Prawns
Clean the prawns, peeling the tail, but leaving the head on.
2 medium eggplants
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
118 ml. Greek style yogurt
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Place the eggplants directly on the stove and cook, turning occasionally, until the skins are completely charred, and the flesh is collapsed (15–20 minutes).
Transfer them to a bowl, cover with clean wrap and leave to cool. Split the eggplants lengthwise and scoop the flesh from the skin into a medium bowl. It’s okay if bits of charred skin get in there too.
Now, puree the eggplant with a fork, breaking it up and then mix in garlic, yogurt, chilli flakes, and 2 tbsp of oil. Season with salt.
Sauce & Roasted Garlic Paste
30 gm unsalted butter
½ brown onion, diced
½ tbs garlic paste (made using 10 roasted garlic cloves, unpeeled & 10ml olive oil)
10 gm ground coriander seeds
1tbs Aji Panca
1tbs Aji Amarillo
100ml fish or prawn stock
50ml white wine
100ml evaporated milk
Add the butter to a heavy-based saucepan. Be careful not to brown the butter. Add the onions and let them soften without colour, and once they are cooked add the roasted garlic paste and ground coriander. Stir until all these ingredients are well combined and continue to cook on a low heat for 5 minutes.
Add the Aji Panca and Aji Amarillo (or the substitute as discussed above), the stock, white wine and the evaporated milk. Keep cooking on a low heat for another 15 minutes.
Place the mix into a Thermomix or blender and blend until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency.
Set the sauce aside to rest for 10 minutes, this will allow all the ingredients and flavours to infuse and create a more balanced result.
In a heavy-based pan, add the sauce and the prawns at low heat and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.