These crispy prawns with a side of fresh herbs and a spicy dipping sauce make for the perfect starter or when entertaining.
- 8 green prawns, about 10-15 cm long, peeled and cleaned, with tails in tact
- drizzle of fish sauce
- rice flour, for dusting
- 1 cup Vietnamese green rice flakes (com dep xanh)
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 8 small iceberg lettuce leaves
- ½ bunch coriander, sprigs picked
- ½ bunch Thai basil, sprigs picked
- ½ bunch Vietnamese mint, sprigs picked
- 90 g (½ cup) tapioca flour
- 45 g (¼ cup) rice flour
Ginger chilli dipping sauce
- 10 g ginger, peeled and chopped
- ½ birds eye chilli, sliced
- 50 ml lime juice
- 50 ml rice vinegar
- 25 ml fish sauce
- 2 tsp grated palm sugar
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.
Serves 4 as appetisers.
Standing time: 30 minutes
1. Using a small knife, make a shallow incision across the bottom of each prawn to sever the tendons, then turn over and press the prawns with your palm to flatten and therefore break the remaining tendons. This keeps the prawns flat once cooked. Place the prawns in a bowl and drizzle with a little fish sauce to season.
2. For the batter, place the flours in a bowl and gradually whisk in enough cold water to make a batter the consistency of thickened cream.
3. Place the rice flour for dusting in a shallow bowl and the green rice flakes in another. One by one, dust the prawns in the rice flour and dip in the batter, then coat liberally with the rice flakes, pressing them into the batter to stick well. Place the prawns in a single layer on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the batter to set.
4. Meanwhile, for the dipping sauce, blitz all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until well combined.
5. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan to 180°C (or until a wooden chopstick has lots of fine bubbles coming from it when dipped into the oil). Cook the prawns in two batches for 2-3 minutes or until the rice flakes have puffed up and are crisp. Drain on paper towel, then season lightly with salt.
6. Serve the prawns with the lettuce leaves, herbs and a ramekin of the dipping sauce in the side.
Catch Helen Tzouganatos whipping up lush gluten-free meals alongside guests in the brand new first series of Loving Gluten Free on SBS and SBS On Demand.