Jiao yan xia, the classic Chinese dish of head-on, fried prawns finished with a Sichuan or white pepper salt seasoning, inspired these prawn rolls – themselves a celebration of salt and pepper. Peeled prawns are seasoned, breaded with cornstarch and fried until super crunchy before getting tucked into toasted rolls. Fresh coriander, sliced chillies and a squeeze of fresh lime brighten the hearty sandwich, which leaves you with a little reward: leftover pepper-salt. Store any extra in an airtight container, and use it to season roasted meats and vegetables.
Salt and pepper prawn rolls
Serves: 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes
Vegetable oil, for frying (about 600ml)
¼ tsp grated garlic
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
4 hot dog buns, preferably top-split
450g peeled and deveined jumbo prawns (16 to 20 prawns), tails removed
60g whole (or 2%) milk
120g corn flour
2 red chillies, thinly sliced
Tender coriander sprigs, for garnish
Lime wedges, for serving
1. In a 30cm cast-iron or heavy frying pan, heat 2.5cm of oil over medium-high until an instant-read thermometer registers 180C.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and garlic; mix well. In a separate small bowl, combine pepper and salt.
3. Heat a medium nonstick frying pan over medium. Using 1 teaspoon of garlic mayonnaise per bun, spread on outer sides of buns, then toast them until golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plates.
4. Season prawns with about 1 teaspoon of the pepper-salt, dip in milk, then dredge in corn flour, gently pressing so cornstarch adheres. Working in two batches, fry prawns until crispy and cooked through, turning halfway, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season with more of the pepper-salt mixture.
5. Smear some garlic mayonnaise on the inner centre of buns, then divide prawns among buns. Top with chiles, coriander and more pepper salt. Serve with lime wedges.
© The New York Times