Snack on this tasty Vietnamese dish, made from grated taro mixed into a batter, with prawns pressed into the top, then deep-fried until crispy. Serve with a salty, spicy dipping sauce, and fresh lettuce and coriander - you'll be begging for more!
185 g (1¼ cups) plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 (about 200 g) baby taro, thickly peeled, grated
vegetable oil, to deep-fry
20 (about 300 g) peeled school prawns
coral lettuce leaves and coriander leaves, to serve
2 red bird’s-eye chillies, chopped
60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
3 tsp fish sauce
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.
To make the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside until needed.
Place the flour, 1 tsp salt and the bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour 185 ml water and egg into the well and whisk until smooth. Stir in taro.
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 170°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Dip a 60 ml metal ladle into oil until hot. Remove, then half-fill ladle with batter. Press 2 prawns into the top, then immerse ladle in the oil for 15 seconds. Using a metal spoon, carefully run spoon around edge of ladle to release cake into the oil. Cook, turning halfway, for a further 6 minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve with dipping sauce, lettuce and coriander leaves.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 12, pg100
Photography by John Laurie