Built around prawns fried crisp in oil Sofika Boulton’s recipe focuses on flavour and freshness, with the Bar Rogue chef bringing crunch with lettuce and fresh herbs, and spice and sweetness with a mango sambal. Win.
Juice of 2 lemons
1 egg white, beaten
800g Karumba prawns, peeled
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 cups (150g) plain flour
1 baby cos lettuce, leaves separated
Mint and coriander leaves, to serve
Lime cheeks, to serve
200ml grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, sliced
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, finely diced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
Combine buttermilk, lemon juice and egg whites in a non-reactive container. Place Karumba prawns into the buttermilk marinade and refrigerate while you prepare the sambal.
For the sambal, heat grapeseed oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shrimp paste and cook out, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and crumbly. Next, add your chilli and chilli flakes, stir until fragrant, then add garlic and shallots, reduce heat to low-medium and continue stirring regularly until nicely softened. After about 5 minutes you can add your fish sauce, sugar and vinegar, stirring to combine.
The sambal should soon start catching on the bottom of the pot, meaning it’s caramelising nicely. Once it reaches this point, remove from heat and allow to cool completely if possible. Peel your mangoes and dice up the flesh finely, then fold it through the sambal.
Fill a deep saucepan half way with vegetable oil and heat to 180°C. Remove prawns from buttermilk marinade and, without draining, dredge in the flour. Slowly and carefully lower dredged prawns into the hot oil and cook, turning occasionally so they colour evenly, for 1-2 minutes until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack.
Arrange cos leaves on a plate with mint and coriander. Season prawns with salt, and place them on top, or next to, the lettuce. Serve with mango sambal and lime cheeks for squeezing.