I think many people would have tried or heard of this popular Chinese dish, salt and pepper prawns (椒鹽蝦). It’s quite easy to find this dish on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The basic requirement of cooking this delicious dish is to get really balanced taste of salt and pepper mixture. The secret ingredient is a bit of five-spice powder. Either fresh or frozen prawns will taste yummy after deep-frying. Mind you, after deep-frying the prawns, the oil is quite messy. I found it’s hardly to recycle and use the oil again. So I used a small amount of oil just enough to cover the prawns in order to save money.
- 8 to 9 medium prawns (shrimps)
- 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- vegetable oil for deep-frying
- 2 Tbsp cornflour
- 1/4 lemon for garnish
- spring onion for garnish
- 1 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 1/2 tsp mixed ground black and white pepper
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1/8 tsp five-spice powder
- Trim the head and tail of prawns as well as devein. Rinse well with cold running water. Drain and pat dry the shrimp with paper towels.
- Heat oil to 140C (284F). You might test whether the oil is ready or not by dropping a cube of bread in it. If the bread cube turns brown in about 45 seconds, the oil is ready.
- Coat the prawns with cornflour and shake off any excess flour. Deep-fry the prawn in batches until cooked through. You’ll find the prawn turns red-pink in colour and curl up when it’s done. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper mixture. Put the shredded lettuce on a plate, top with the salt and pepper prawn, garnish with spring onion and lemon when served.
- Store any excess salt and pepper mixture in an airtight container. It’s very good for steamed or deep-fried chicken as well.
- Make sure that the prawns are really dry before adding them into hot oil.