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The prawns go pop

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's been hectic for a while now and so cooking has been... well, on the back burner. But I recently had to make a dish for a cooking column I contribute to in the newspapers and came up with these popcorn prawns. Only, the column was shelved for a week and I had second thoughts about featuring the dish there after all, so I have something to post about over here.
I'm not very good at deep-frying and I actually only shallow-fried these but I'm happy with how they turned out. One of the nice things about it is that the batter stayed crisp for quite a while.

Popcorn Prawns with Dips
Serves 4

600g unshelled medium white prawns
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup potato flour
1 tsp baking powder
1½ cups water, approximate
Oil for frying

Have the dips ready (two recipes follow) before cooking the prawns as this dish should be served immediately.
Clean, peel and devein the prawns. Their shelled weight should be around 480g, so get already peeled prawns if desired. Season the prawns with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flours and baking powder. Add 1 cup of water to the mixture and stir together, then gradually add more water until a thin crepe-like batter forms. Add the prawns to the batter and stir them around.
Heat about 5cm of oil in a wok or deep pan. Have a large plate lined with kitchen paper ready on the side of the stove.
When the oil is hot, fry the prawns in batches until they are golden brown, three to four minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon or spider onto the paper-lined plate.
The leftover batter can be fried into crisp strings. Using one hand, drizzle the batter into the hot oil. They will puff up immediately. This batter remains crisp for quite a long time.
When the prawns are all done, sprinkle salt and pepper over them and serve with the dips and lime wedges.

Chilli Jam
Heat some oil in a pan and sauté one small chopped onion. When translucent, add two chopped red chillies, two large chopped tomatoes, one minced garlic clove, two tablespoons of sugar and half a cup of apple cider or wine vinegar. If it is too sour, add a little water. Simmer over medium-low heat until thickened. Season with salt. Pureé the chilli jam with a hand blender or food processor.

Lime Yoghurt Dip
Combine two to three tablespoons each of yoghurt and salad cream. Add the zest and juice of one lime. Season with salt.

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