The coconut milk should alert you to the Thai origins of this recipe. It is a delicious treat that relies on the prawns marinating long enough to absorb the various aromatic flavours of the marinade. That being accomplished, the results are an extremely tasty platter that can serve as a main course or a wonderful opener. It is easy and quick to cook in the wok and makes lovely, exotic eating.
Peel the prawns and discard the shells. Using a small sharp knife, remove the fine digestive cord. Wash the prawns and pat them dry with kitchen paper.
Peel the lemon grass stalk to reveal the tender, whitish centre and crush it with the flat of a knife, then finely chop it. In a large bowl, combine the lemon grass, garlic, shallots, chilli, lime juice, salt and pepper with the coconut milk. Mix well and add the prawns. Allow the prawns to marinate for 1 hour.
Lift the prawns from the marinade with a slotted spoon and dust them with flour. Dip them in the beaten egg and dust them again with flour, shaking off any excess.
Heat a wok or large frying-pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat to moderate and deep-fry the prawns. You may have to do this in several batches. Remove them when they are pink and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and serve at once.
© 1996 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.