Deep Fried Coconut Prawns Recipe

"If you have been anywhere by the sea in the Yucatán peninsula you will have had these deep-fried king prawns with a coconut batter. Somewhat curiously to me, they often come with an apple sauce, but far less frequently they’re served with a papaya and habanero dipping sauce, which I like. The other problem is the batter is often too sweet, so this is my version with no sugar. The sauce is a little on the hot side, but so it should be, habaneros being far and away the chillies most often used in the Yucatán." - Rick

Cook Rick Stein's coconut prawns at home.

Ingredients to make Rick's coconut prawns

Serves 4 - 6 as a starter

24 raw king prawns, peeled but with tails
50g plain flour
Black pepper

For the batter and coating
125g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 medium egg, beaten
150ml ice-cold water
60g panko breadcrumbs
60g unsweetened desiccated coconut
600ml corn oil, for frying

For the papaya dipping sauce
1 large papaya
1/2 - 1 habanero chilli, stem removed, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 banana shallot, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 thin slices of peeled root ginger
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 large pinch ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt


How to make Rick's coconut prawns

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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) Put the flour in a shallow bowl and season it generously with salt and pepper. Put the breadcrumbs mixed with the coconut in another bowl, and the batter in a third.

5) Coat a prawn in flour, shaking off any excess, then 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 coconut and crumbs 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.

6) 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.

Happy cooking.

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