Today’s post was inspired by all the cooking shows I have been watching lately. East meets west. Modern cooking or as we like to call them, Asian-infused. Growing up in the Philippines, meals were heavily influenced by Spanish and Chinese cuisines. Both of course were good but I was more a fan of the stews and casseroles and the paella (my favourite rice dish of all). Except for the instant noodles ( yes, I loved instant noodles) and the Filipino dish pancit bihon ( rice sticks noodles stir-fry with chicken or pork and vegetables), noodles or soup with noodles wasn’t really my thing back then. Would you believe the first time I ever tried soup noodles was when I was 16 during my first visit to Chinatown in Manila? I have to say it was good but was not enough to get me into it. It was probably the weather. I blame the weather for it. Hot weather and soup just did not do it for me. Or maybe it was just a personal preference. Like how some people do not like certain foods or certain ways of cooking food. Believe it or not, I only ate hard-boiled eggs until I was 17 years old. Didn’t like scrambled or sunny-side up or any other way to cook eggs but hard-boiled. Thanks to my best friend who introduced me to sunny-side up one late night coming from university and we settled for a Tropical Hut fast food dinner.A popular Filipino meal of sunny-side up egg with steamed rice and beef tapa ( similar to beef jerky) and I loved it ever since. One style of cooking I remember liking though since I was a child was anything with coconut cream or coconut milk. Fish, chicken and my favourite of all cooked in coconut cream – snails, or let’s be fancy and call them escargot. I loved the creamy texture of coconut and its mild non-sweet taste. It is when you mix it with other Asian ingredients like chilli and lime that you get this wonderful flavour. Fusion of gastronomic delight bursting in your mouth.
I made this prawns coated in a mixture of desiccated coconut and dried coriander, shallow-fried then served with mix salad leaves drizzled with this gorgeous dressing of coconut cream, chilli and lime. Now, where we live in Sydney is a bit hard to find fresh coconut fruit, which you grate ( the flesh), add water and then squeeze to produce coconut milk. Thank goodness you can buy tinned coconut cream or milk from the supermarket now. Less work and mess but will give you the same flavour when used in cooking. I just love the sweet and tangy flavours with a hint of chilli this dressing gives. Depending on portion, this can be either a salad entree or a main dish. I would allow 3-4 prawns for entree portion and 6-8 as main.
- 12 raw King prawns, peeled and deveined with tails left intact
- plain flour, to coat
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 2 tablespoons dried coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 small brown onion shallot
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- chilli flakes, to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 270ml coconut cream
- zest and juice of 1 small lime
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons palm sugar
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- cooking oil, for shallow frying
- 200g mixed salad leaves
- Holding the prawns by their tails, coat them in flour, then dip in combined egg and milk mixture and then in the combined desiccated coconut and coriander. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan. Over medium heat, cook the shallots, garlic, ginger, chilli and turmeric for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add kaffir, lime juice and zest, sugar, fish sauce and cream. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 3 minutes, or until thick. Keep warm.
- In a pan, heat oil then fry prawns for 3-5 minutes, or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt.
- Divide salad leaves among bowls, top with the prawns then drizzle with the dressing.