Deep-fried Prawns tied with Noodle Bows with a Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce
If you like the flavour of prawns, then frozen, raw tiger prawns, defrosted and briefly deep-fried, give possibly the best flavour of all – apart from taking them straight out of the sea. In The Oriental's cookery school the prawns were wrapped in thin pancakes or soya bean crepes. As these are not available here, I have found this recipe works just as well if you dip them in flour.
This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine (October 1995). Serves 4 as a starter; 2 as a main course.
It is best to make the dipping sauce ahead of time to allow the flavours to develop. All you do is heat the vinegar in a small saucepan, add the sugar and stir over a gentle heat until all the sugar crystals have dissolved. After that, let it simmer gently for 2 minutes then pour it into a bowl, add the soy sauce and, as soon as it's completely cold, stir in all the other ingredients. Then leave the sauce aside until you are ready to serve.
When you are ready to cook the prawns, peel off the skins but leave the tails intact as this always makes them look pretty. Make a slit with the tip of a knife all the way down the back of each prawn and remove the black thread. Now place the prawns in a bowl, mix them with the garlic, coriander, fish sauce and green peppercorns, and leave them aside to marinate in this mixture whilst you cook the spaghetti. This needs to be boiled in salted water for about 8 minutes, then drained and rinsed in cold water. Next, heat the oil; if you have a cooking thermometer, the temperature needs to be 180°C (350°F). If not, a small cube of bread should turn golden brown in 45 seconds to indicate the right temperature.
Next, drain the prawns in a sieve then toss them in the seasoned flour. Then carefully separate the spaghetti strands and tie in a bow around each prawn. Then deep-fry them in 2 batches for 2 minutes each or until the prawns are cooked and the spaghetti is nice and crispy. Drain them on crumpled greaseproof or kitchen paper and serve them straight away with the dipping sauce.