“Travelling through the UK, I saw so many fish and chip shops, cafes and pubs serving battered scampi with mayo. Despite this dish's popularity, I found the batter a bit too thick for the delicate crustacean. So here is my version of the fried seafood treat with just a light dusting of potato starch and an aromatic seasoning, along with a punchy garlic mayonnaise for dipping action.” Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom
- 1 kg raw scampi, peeled and deveined (see Note)
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 100 g potato starch
- 1 spring onion (scallion), thinly sliced
- 1 bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp finely ground white pepper
- 200 ml vegetable oil
- 50 ml olive oil
Salt and pepper seasoning mix
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp Chinese five-spice
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The recipe makes 250 ml of mayonnaise. This quantity of mayonnaise is best made in a bowl using a whisk.
To make the mayonnaise, first secure your bowl on the work surface. Sit the bowl on a folded tea towel so it doesn’t move around.
Using a mortar and pestle, bash the garlic cloves into a paste.
In a bowl, combine the garlic paste, egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and white pepper and whisk well. Combine the vegetable oil and olive oil and add it to the egg yolk mixture, adding only a few drops of oil at a time, whisking slowly as you add the oil. Once you have added about 50 ml of oil, you can continue to add the oil in one slow, steady stream, whisking slowly, until thick and emulsified.
Place the mayonnaise in a container, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
To make the salt and pepper seasoning mix, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Fill a wok or deep-fryer one-third full of oil and heat to 180ºC or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 30 seconds.
Working in batches, dust the scampi with the potato starch, shake off the excess starch, then add a few at a time in quick succession to the oil. Deep-fry for 2 minutes (or until golden), then carefully remove to a colander to drain.
Drain all but 2 teaspoons of oil from the wok, then return the wok to the heat. Add the spring onion, chilli and garlic, toss to combine, then add the scampi. Continue to toss the scampi in the wok while sprinkling over 2 teaspoons of the salt and pepper seasoning mix, or more to taste. Place the scampi in a serving bowl and serve with the garlic mayonnaise for dipping.
• Scampi can be subsituted with the equivalent weight of prawns or, for a vegetarian version, 300 g of okra. If using okra, trim the tops and ends off, then follow the recipe above. You need to fry the okra for about 3 minutes.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.
Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom starts Thursday 14 May 2015 at 8pm on SBS ONE and finishes 2 July 2015. Visit the Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom website to catch-up on episodes online, scroll through recipes or find out more about the show.