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Use Sichuan peppercorns to flavour shellfish with a celery-like taste, then create a Chinese-style chilli garlic dip
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- vegetable oil, for deep frying
- 24 large king prawns, peeled and deveined, with tails
- pea shoots or baby salad leaves, to serve (optional)
For the spice mix
- 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 4 black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp sea salt flakes
- large pinch of chilli flakes
For the dipping sauce
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- juice 3 limes
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- First, make the dipping sauce.
- Crush the garlic, coriander and chilli using a pestle and mortar.
- (If you don’t have one, just finely chop.) Pound in the sugar until dissolved, then add the lime juice and fish sauce.
- It should taste sweet, salty and spicy.
- To make the spice mix, toast the Sichuan and black peppercorns in a frying pan over a medium heat for 1 min or until fragrant.
- Finely grind in a spice mill or using a pestle and mortar, then add the salt and chilli flakes and mix together.
- Transfer to a bowl.
- Combine the spice mix with the cornflour.
- Heat 7.5cm of oil in a large wok or deep heavy-based saucepan.
- You can test the temperature by frying a small piece of bread – it should sizzle instantly and take 20 secs to turn golden.
- Toss the prawns with the spice mix, shake off the excess and deep-fry, in batches, for 1-2 mins or until crisp at the edges and starting to curl.
- Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a baking tray lined with kitchen paper and keep warm while you cook the remaining prawns.
- Scatter over the pea shoots or salad leaves, if you like, and serve with the dipping sauce.
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