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Recipe: Lunar New Year crispy prawns

Click to play video: 'Making Lunar New Year crispy prawns'
Making Lunar New Year crispy prawns
Vancouver's Chinatown is gearing up to welcome people for Lunar New Year festivities. In part two of this segment, Chef Deseree Lo shows community reporter Safeeya Pirani how to make crispy fried prawns with locally sourced ingredients from stores in the neighbourhood. – Feb 9, 2024

Vancouver’s Chinatown is gearing up to welcome people for Lunar New Year festivities.

In part two of this segment, Chef Deseree Lo shows community reporter Safeeya Pirani how to make crispy fried prawns with locally-sourced ingredients from stores in the neighbourhood.

Ingredients

Basics

  • 8-12 pcs tiger prawns, shelled and deveined
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch white pepper (optional)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp rice wine

For the Thai Sweet Chili Lime Mayo Sauce

  • ½ cup Japanese mayonnaise
  • 1 lime juice
  • ¼ cup Thai sweet chili sauce (any brand but I usually use Mae Ploy, Cock Brand or Lee Kum Kee)
  • Pinch salt to taste
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For the coating & frying

  • 40 g corn starch
  • 20 g rice flour
  • 10 g potato starch
  • 1 L oil to fry (or more if using a deep fryer)

For the garnish & finishing

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (red, white or both!)
  • 1 red apple (preferably local)
  • Curly parsley or cilantro leaves

Method

  1. If using a fryer, set the fryer temperature to 350 F or 180 C. If frying in a wok or pot, gently heat up the oil to the temperature above.
  2. Remove any visible shells from the prawns (you can remove the tails if desired, but I like to have something to hold onto while I drench them in the starch mix). Butterfly the prawns by making a cut along the back without cutting through and devein by removing any visible dirt and intestinal tracts.
  3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, season the prawns with salt (& the optional white pepper). Add the egg white and rice wine. Start mixing the prawns with your hand until the egg white becomes frothy. Set aside until ready to fry.
  4. Combine all the starches into a small/medium size bowl and set aside.
  5. Cut the apples into bite-sized pieces (skin on or off up to you).
  6. In a large mixing bowl, mix the mayonnaise, lime juice, sweet chili sauce, pinch of salt and the apples together. (*Some recipes call for condensed milk to make it creamy and for additional sweetness. You can add 1-2 tbsp if desired, but I know I will lick the whole can if I have it in my house so I am skipping it.) Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  7. Before deep-frying the prawns, roll them in the starch mix and coat thoroughly. Leave them on a paper towel on a tray for 10 minutes before frying. This method allows the water from the prawns to release a little which will rehydrate the coating and prevent it from coming off as soon as the prawns hit the hot oil.
  8. While the prawns are resting, thinly slice the cabbages. Pick some parsley or cilantro leaves. Set aside until plating.
  9. Deep fry the prawns in 2-3 batches until they are light golden colored (about a minute and a half). Make sure the oil temperature remains high, as the prawns cook quickly. When the batches are done, fry all the prawns once more for about 30 seconds while stirring the oil with long wooden chopsticks or metal tongs to let the steam out. Remove excess oil with paper towels.
  10. Toss and coat the prawns with the sweet chili lime mayonnaise. Place the prawn on top of the shredded cabbages and garnish with some parsley or cilantro leaves.
  11. Dig in!

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