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.
Peel the prawns and discard the shells. Using a small sharp knife, remove the fine digestive cord. Wash the prawns in cold water with
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
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.
© 2001 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.