tempura prawn tacos
For the past few months I have been on something of a vegan odyssey.
Exploring all sorts of weird and wonderful recipes such as cashew cream pasta sauce, pine nut béchamel and tofu hollandaise. My new found obsession with vegan has not only to do with wanting to live healthier (since turning thirty this has become a more acknowledged goal) and helping the environment, but also I find the challenge of making a delicious meal without the help of cheesy goodness or meat, very exciting.
I have quite a few of my vegan escapades to talk about but I will be putting these together in a separate blog very soon, so watch this space.
Despite my vegan appreciation, I have not given up meat and dairy completely and last Saturday it was prawns that were playing on my mind. This led to the idea of prawn tacos, which continued to the prospect of frying them in a little batter, batter led to tempura ( tempura is the japanese method and lighter)…yum. You get the idea that most of my waking moments is spent dreaming of food and pondering the possible things I can put together and then scoff. Easter is coming up…
So, this is about how I put together my tempura prawn tacos. They were pretty impressive considering my lack of deep fryer, the tempura batter very light and crisp and the prawns succulent. I served it with a fresh slaw of carrot and red cabbage, shop tortillas, guacamole, salsa and sour cream.
This was good Saturday night eating and surprisingly easy as I was a little scared at the idea of deep frying!
bag of frozen king prawns defrosted, about 250g (or fresh if you can get them)
flour or corn tortillas
corn flour 100g
plain flour 150g
baking powder 10g
bunch of coriander, chopped roughly
cherry tomatoes, very finely sliced
green chili, very finely sliced
1/4 head of red cabbage
1x red onions, finely sliced
As I said, the notion of deep frying without a fryer was a little daunting so in order to feel on top of it I made sure that everything else I was serving with the prawns was prepared.
Get your frozen prawns in defrost mode (in my case, the bag in a saucepan of cold water with a large mug to keep them submerged), they should only take 20 minutes max.
First start with the slaw. I have a food processor but if you don’t then you can grate or finely slice the veg.
Process 3 carrots (don’t worry about peeling) on the grater setting. Finely chop the red cabbage and red onion and throw all this into a bowl and mix with balsamic, creme fraiche, lime juice and coriander. Season and adjust all ingredients until it tastes right and has a good consistency. You want fresh and zingy, not claggy. I also added a few drops of chipotle sauce to emphasise the Mexican influence we have here. Set the slaw aside in the fridge or in my case outside on the window sill, anything to keep it chilled.
Next peel and de-stone your avocados and place in a bowl, douse with the juice of a lime, add salt and mash away. Toss in a little of the chopped coriander. Test for seasoning and pop to the side for later.
Now for the salsa or pico de gallo. As finely as possible chop the red onion, green chill, coriander, cherry tomatoes, combine with the juice of a lime and a little salt. Set to the side.
pico de gallo
Put your condiments out ready, i.e. chipotle sauce, sour cream and the above.
Wrap your tortillas in foil and get the oven on to warm them through, it all gets a bit quick now.
Drain the prawns, pat them dry.
Get the oil on, I used vegetable oil and filled a large pot just over a 1/4 of the way with oil. I don’t have a thermometer so I played by ear, and tested with little droplets of batter until it fried nicely. Nothing too aggressive is the key.
While your oil is heating, pop the tortillas in the oven and get the batter going.
Pour all the flours and baking powder together in a large bowl and mix. Slowly add the fizzy water to the flour mix and whisk. Add enough water until it coats your finger, so it isn’t too thick or too liquid. If its still lumpy, that is fine, after some research the key is not to over whisk.
I started by coating the prawns one by one but this grew tedious and slow so I ended throwing in all the little suckers to the tempura mix and making sure all were well coated.
Then off you go, pop them carefully into the hot oil. You will have to do this in batches depending on your pot size, remove them, again carefully, with a slotted spoon.
As I’m sure you can imagine, HOT OIL IS DANGEROUS, so please take care.
Place the finished prawns on kitchen paper or a clean towel to remove excess oil.
Get moving, we don’t want cold prawns.
Grab the tortillas from the oven, the prawns and take to the table with the awaiting goodies.
Stuff everything into a tortilla and munch.