Crisp Prawns with Cashew & Chilli Sauce

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This works well on two fronts: everyone loves crisp prawns, and the sauce can be made in advance and reheated. It’s perfect for a shared table.

Ingredients

  • 6 green king prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined with tails left intact
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Batter

  • 85 g (3 oz/ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) iced water

Cashew & Chilli Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ small red capsicum (pepper), diced
  • ½ small Spanish onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing
  • 3 tablespoons chilli sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chicken stock
  • 80 g ( oz/½ cup) cashews, roasted
  • 2 dried long red chillies, deseeded, deep-fried until black and crisp and broken into small pieces

Method

To make the cashew and chilli sauce, heat the oil in a wok until just smoking. Add the capsicum and onion and stir-fry until fragrant, then deglaze the wok with the shaoxing. Add the chilli sauce, sugar, sea salt, white pepper, vinegar, sesame oil and chicken stock to the wok, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has reduced by about a quarter. Stir in the cashews and chillies and remove from the heat.

To make the batter, mix together the flour, cornflour, sea salt and water until smooth. Dip the prawns into the batter and allow any excess to drip away. Heat the oil in a wok until smoking (180°C/350°F) and deep-fry the prawns until golden, then drain on paper towel. Spoon the sauce onto a plate and top with the fried prawns to serve.