Prawn Toasts

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes about

    30 pieces

Appears in

This treat is familiar to Chinese restaurant diners, but I was surprised to discover this Thai version. Bread is not a staple of either Thai or Chinese cuisine and it is clear that a cosmopolitan or international influence is at work here. In any case, the dish works equally well as an appetizing starter for any meal or as a delightful finger-food treat with cocktails.

Ingredients

  • 110 g (4 oz) raw prawns
  • 450 g (1 lb) fatty minced pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 20 slices bread, very thinly sliced
  • 50 g (2 oz) sesame seeds
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) groundnut (peanut) oil, for deep-frying

Method

Peel the prawns and discard the shells. Using a small sharp knife, remove the fine digestive cord. Wash the prawns in cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt, then rinse well and pat dry with kitchen paper.

Using a cleaver or sharp knife, chop the prawns coarsely, then mince them finely into a paste and put into a bowl. Mix in the rest of the prawn paste ingredients, down to and including the sugar. Alternatively, you could do this in a food processor. This step can be done hours in advance, but you should then wrap the paste well in clingfilm and put it into the refrigerator until you need it.

Remove the rusts from the bread and cut the bread into rectangles about 7.5 × 2.5 cm (3×1 in.. You should get about 3 pieces per slice. If the bread is fresh, place it in a warm oven to dry out. (Dried bread will absorb less oil.) Spread the prawn paste thickly on each piece of bread. The paste should form a layer about 3 mm (⅛ in) deep, although you can spread it more thinly if you prefer. Sprinkle the toasts with sesame seeds.

Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or a large wok to a moderate heat. Deep-fry several prawn toasts at a time, frying them, paste-side down, for 2–3 minutes then turning them over and deep-frying for about another 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and serve.

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