The special salt in these prawns is made up of the umami flavours of sichuan peppercorns and chillies which create a slightly numbing effect on the tongue. Sichuan peppercorns are not actually a peppercorn but a flower bud. When combined with chilli, they are a powerful flavouring for stir-fries or fried food.
To make the special salt, toast the sichuan and black peppercorns in a small dry frying pan over medium heat for 1 minute or until fragrant. Allow to cool, then finely grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Pour into a bowl and stir in the salt, chilli flakes and cornflour.
To make the dipping sauce, crush the garlic and chilli in a mortar and pestle or finely chop together and transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, then check the balance of flavours. It should taste sweet, salty and spicy: adjust if necessary.
Heat 7.5 cm (
Serve the fried prawns in lettuce leaves, scattered with the fried garlic and chilli, with the chopped spring onion in a bowl of the dipping sauce.
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