Crisp Fried Tigers

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You can buy reconstituted dried bean-curd sheets to make this dish authentically Thai, but ordinary wonton wrappers – which you can buy in packets from any Oriental market – are the easiest to use and work well. These come in different shapes and sizes. The ones you want for this job are rectangles about 7.5 cm / 3 inches long. You can buy frozen tiger prawns in 500 g and 1 kg packs at the same markets more cheaply than you can at most fishmongers. Allow 4 or 5 per person.

Ingredients

  • 16–20 frozen tiger prawns
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 16–20 won-ton wrappers
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

For the Sweet-and-Sour Chilli

  • Tomato Sauce:
  • 100 g/ oz sultanas
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 hot red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 225 g/ 8 oz canned chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Tabasco or other chilli sauce (optional)

Method

First make the Sweet-and-sour Chilli Tomato Sauce: put the sultanas, garlic, chillies, vinegar and chopped tomatoes in a pan with the oil. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the ketchup, simmer for another 5 minutes, then transfer to a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper and whiz to a purée. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the sauce is not fiery enough, add some Tabasco or other chilli sauce. Leave to cool before serving. If you like this sauce, make it in larger amounts and keep it in jars in the fridge.

Let the prawns defrost fully, then peel off the shells. Leave the tail fans on and remove intestinal threads as described opposite. Wipe with paper towels, then sweeten as described above.

Make a paste with the cornflour and a little water. Lay a won-ton wrapper in front of you with a corner towards you. Brush the edges with the paste, then lay a prawn on it with the tail fan sticking out to the right of the corner nearest to you. Fold the left-hand side over the head end of the body and roll the package away from you to wrap tightly. Repeat until they are all ready to cook.

Deep-fry as soon as possible in 2 batches at 190°C/375°F for 1 minute on each side, turning with a slotted spoon. Cook them for any longer and the wrappers will burn and the prawns overcook, which is when they go rubbery. Drain on paper towels and serve with Sweet-and-sour Chilli Tomato Sauce.

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