Thu. Oct 17th, 2019

The Blushing Prawn

The Prawn & Shrimp Recipe Finder

The origins of this dish remain obscure, but it almost certainly evolved as a natural marriage of the bounty of crustaceans and coconuts found along the world’s tropical coasts. The coconut probably evolved in southeast Asia as did so many tropical foods. Migration to other shores could easily have happened as nuts fell from the trees and floated along on ocean currents. Coconuts were also popular with sailors on long ocean voyages, due to the refreshing liquid and the nourishing meat found inside, which further contributes to the explanation of their broad global distribution. There is no record of coconuts existing in the Americas until the arrival of the Spaniards. In fact, the name “coconut” derives from the Spanish El Coco – a name used for something akin to the “bogeyman”, supposedly due to the odd face-like impressions on the end of all coconuts. Whatever its origins, coconut shrimp can now be found in the Yucatán peninsula from the shores of Campeche to the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean.

Coconut Prawns
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  • 24 raw king prawns, peeled but with tails on (about 600g frozen raw shell-on prawns)
  • 600ml corn oil, for frying
  • salt and black pepper
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 medium egg
  • 150ml ice-cold water
  • 50g plain flour
  • 60g panko breadcrumbs
  • 60g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 large papaya
  • ½-1 habanero chilli, stem removed, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 banana shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 thin slices root ginger
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 large pinch ground allspice
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. To make the dipping sauce, peel the papaya, remove the seeds and chop it roughly. Put it in a blender with the other ingredients and process until smooth. Pour the sauce into a pan and bring it to the boil, then immediately turn down to a simmer and cook gently for about 5 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add a few tablespoons of just-boiled water.
  2. For the batter, sift the plain flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Make a well in centre and break in the egg, then bring in the flour from the sides. Whisk in the cold water to make a smooth batter. Put the coating flour in a shallow bowl.
  3. Put the batter in a second bowl and the breadcrumbs mixed with coconut in a third.
  4. Season the prawns with salt and pepper, then coat a prawn in flour, shaking off any excess and holding it by the tail, dip it into the batter. Lift it out and let any excess batter drip back into the bowl. Roll the prawn in the crumbs and coconut mix, pressing it down so the mixture sticks. Put the prawn on a plate lined with greaseproof paper and repeat until all are coated. Leave some space between each one.
  5. Add the oil to a large pan and heat to 180°C. Deep-fry the prawns – a few at a time – for 1 or 2 minutes until golden and crisp. Drain them on kitchen paper. Serve at once with the papaya dipping sauce.


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