Sunday, October 5, 2014

Prawn Rolls / Cake

Whenever you go to a Thai restaurant locally or in Thailand itself, you will notice a popular side dish that is often on the menu and ordered by people who dine at the place itself. If you are guessing som tham, hahaha not quite close yet. This side dish can be considered as a snack as well. Beware as you may just down many of this prawn cake without realising it.
I remember I once saw a prawn cake recipe, after seeing the recipe, I just skipped it and go to the next recipe. Haha!! Yes you are right about it. The list of ingredients in that recipe was just simply daunting and I was almost yawning already. But then again, at the same time, it also reminded me that this simple but yet complex snack is often made daily in restaurants or eateries. It's really not easy to use so many ingredients just to make one thing. 

When I saw Nigel's recipe, it struck me that it might not be so complex afterall.


prawns, defrosted – 250g
garlic – 2 cloves, 
peeledspring onions – 4, chopped
lemon grass or lime leaves – 2 stalks, outer leaves removed and shredded, or 4 leaves, rolled and shredded
coriander leaves – a fistful
small hot red chillies – 2 small, seeded
flour – 1 heaped tbs
groundnut oil for frying

for the sauce:
rice vinegar – 6 tbs
sugar – 4 tbs
dark soy sauce – 1 tbs
small, hot red chillies – 2, seeded and very finely chopped
coriander leaves – 1 tbs, very finely chopped 
juice of a lime
  1. To make the sauce, heat the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is becoming syrupy. Stir in the soy sauce and leave to cool. Add the chillies, the coriander leaves and the lime juice. Then leave to cool and thicken.
  2. Put the prawns, garlic, spring onion, shredded lemon grass or lime leaves, coriander leaves and chillies, flour and a little salt into the bowl of a food processor and blitz to a rough paste. Set aside for half an hour in the fridge for the flavours to marry.
  3. Press spoonfuls of the prawn paste into small patties or flat cakes. You should get about eight from the mixture. I used my trustworthy ice-cream scoop to scoop it onto the hot pan and then press it down with my spatula, yes that works as well.
  4. Heat enough groundnut oil in a shallow pan to cover the bottom then lay the prawn patties in, letting them colour before gently turning with a palette knife. When they are crisp and golden on the outside, yet still moist in the middle, lift the patties out and lay them into the lettuce leaves, spooning over some of the sauce and scattering mint and coriander leaves over the top.

Honestly this prawn cake is really one of the easy peasy ones I've tried to make and it tastes not too bad. However, my suggestion is to shallow fry this on low heat so that the prawn cake will be well cooked. It's really easy to burn this prawn cake if you put on medium heat and let it cook fast.

The best condiment for this prawn cake would definitely be a dip in thai chilli sauce. Or the sauce that Nigel has made to go along with this prawn cake. For me, sometimes I do forget about the sauce as the prawn cake is pretty addictive. Whichever that is up your road, do it.

On a separate note, Nigel calls these prawn rolls but I still call them prawn cake as I affectionately known them for a long time.

With this prawn rolls/cake, I am bidding Nigel Slater farewell. Throughout these weeks of learning how to cook with Nigel Slater, I hope that this wouldn't be the last of me using or referring to Nigel's recipes but instead, every now and then I would look to him for inspiration. I have learnt quite a lot from Nigel - yummyness need not be compromised by flavours and time taken to prepare a dish.

I'm submitting this post to I Heart Cooking Club as a cheerio to Nigel Slater.

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