Tasty Prawn Toast

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes about 30 pieces , serving

    4–6

    as canapés

Appears in

Although this dish is now popular in Hong Kong, I believe it to be a Westernized Chinese invention. Prawns lend themselves to many cooking techniques, including steaming and deep-frying, as used to make prawns balls in dim sum menus, and making prawn paste stuffing for fish or vegetables. But to combine prawns with toast is, to me, a uniquely Western idea.

That being said, the dish is popular, tasty and easy to make. The small amount of fatty pork included adds richness and enhances the other flavours; the dry bread absorbs the oils and spices. Perhaps the dish was invented by frugal Chinese-American chefs with stale bread on hand – much the way ‘French toast’, or pain perdu, evolved.

Ingredients

  • 10 thin slices dry white bread
  • Potato flour or cornflour; for dusting
  • Groundnut oil, for deep frying

For the Prawn Paste

  • 450 g (1 lb) prawns, peeled, deveined and finely chopped
  • 115 g (4 oz) fatty ground pork
  • 225 g (8 oz) fresh water chestnuts, peeled and chopped, or 115 g (4 oz) canned water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 egg white

Method

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the prawn paste and process until they are just blended. A bit of texture in the paste is desirable.

Trim any crust from the bread and cut it into 7.5 × 2.5 cm (3×1 in) rectangles. If the bread is fresh, toast until light brown; this step is not necessary if the bread is dry. Spread the paste about 5 mm (¼ in) thick on the bread pieces. Dust the paste side lightly with the potato flour.

Heat a wok or deep pan until it is hot. Pour in the groundnut oil and, when the oil is hot, turn the heat to moderate and deep-fry the prawn toasts, paste side down, for 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Regulate the temperature from time to time so that the oil does not get too hot. Then turn them over and fry on the other side for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve at once.

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