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)

115g mayonnaise

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

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