If you do see these bright green and deliciously juicy garlic scapes in the market, grab them with both hands! While most people use them as a green alternative to the more pungent garlic bulb, this Chinese recipe that pairs them with prawns really brings out the wonderful contrast in texture.

What are garlic scapes?

Garlic scapes are thick, round stems of the common garlic plant that grow into flowers at the tip. Farmers generally cut and discard garlic scapes to get the plant to focus on bulb growth.

Instead of allow the scapes to go to waste, more people are now aware that these are really tasty vegetables in their own right.

In general, the Chinese call these garlic scapes “Suanqing” 蒜青, while the tender green leaves of the garlic plant are called “Suanmiao” 蒜苗. The former is a thick stem while the latter resembles the closely-related chives.

More about this recipe

Prawn balls here are not really balls made of minced prawn. Rather, it describes how the prawn curls up tightly into a circular disc once cooked. By tugging the end of the tail into a small hole at the beginning enhances this effect. Also, by coating each prawn thinly with potato flour, we are giving the prawn balls a glazed appearance. This technique of making prawn balls is typically Chinese Cantonese.


  • 8-10 large fresh prawns, shelled and de-veined
  • Bunch of garlic scapes, cut into 5cm long
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2cm young ginger, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 2 tbs Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp potato flour
  • 2 tbs water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of black pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Serving: 2 persons


  1. Cut open the back of each prawn. Make a hole towards the front and pull the tail through so that it forms a ball.
  2. Marinate the prawns with a dash of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the potato flour and water over them, mix well and leave aside.
  3. In the meantime, make the sauce by mixing the sugar, oyster sauce and rice wine . Set aside.
  4. Heat up a pan or a wok with 3 tbs vegetable oil on high heat. First brown the garlic, then add in the garlic greens. Stir fry until the greens are soft. Serve on a plate.
  5. Put the pan back on the fire and add another 3 tbs oil. Stir fry the prawns on all sides until they turn completely orange. Add the young ginger and stir fry for another 5 seconds. Add the sauce and coat everything with it for around 10 seconds then pour them onto the bed of garlic greens.
  6. Serve immediately.