Grilled Coconut Ginger Prawns with Papaya Salsa

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When barbecuing big prawns, the conundrum is whether to take the shells off or not? The shelled ones are much easier for your friends to eat, but they do tend to dry out. I’ve found that threading a lime leaf over the back of each prawn is a clever way to protect the flesh during grilling and it also infuses an intense lime taste. The coconut marinade keeps the flesh moist and ties in the tropical flavours.

Prep 15 minutes, plus 4 hours marinating
Cook 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200 ml 7 fl oz) coconut milk
  • zest and juice 1 lime
  • 18 lime leaves, 2 finely chopped
  • 1 cm (½ inch) ginger, grated
  • 1 thumb-sized red chilli, sliced
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 16 very large raw peeled prawns with tails

Papaya Salsa

  • 1 large or
  • 2 small papayas, diced ½ thumb-sized chilli, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • lime wedges, to serve

Method

If using wooden skewers, soak them for 30 minutes before cooking.

In a small bowl, mix together the coconut milk, lime zest and juice, the finely chopped lime leaves, ginger, chilli and fish sauce. Set aside.

Use a sharp knife to slice down the back of each prawn and rinse out the vein.

Thread each prawn with a whole lime leaf on the back onto a wooden or metal skewer. Place in a shallow baking dish and pour half the marinade over. Refrigerate for up to 4 hours before grilling.

To make the papaya salsa, mix the papaya, chilli and mint together in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat an outdoor grill or chargrill pan. Grill the prawns, lime leaf down, over direct heat for about 3–5 minutes or until they turn pink and are charred at the edges.

Serve the prawns with the remaining marinade, papaya salsa and lime wedges. You could also cook steamed rice to bulk this up.