Chilli coconut prawns

Serves 4

2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled, chopped

2 tbsp fresh garlic, peeled, chopped

8 small bird's-eye chillies, deseeded (optional)

2 tsp ground Szechuan pepper

2 tsp ground fennel seeds

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground star anise

32 green prawns, peeled, deveined, butterflied, tails left on

1 1/2 cups hot water

1 cup vegetable oil

24 fresh curry leaves

6 small red Asian shallots, peeled, finely diced

700ml coconut cream

500ml tomato base (good Italian tomato pasta sauce)

100ml tamarind pulp coarsely ground black pepper

salt flakes


Crush the ginger, garlic, chilli and spices in a mortar and pestle to a paste. In a large bowl, fold half the paste mixture in with the prawns and set aside. Heat 100ml oil in a large frying pan over a high heat until just smoking. Add the curry leaves and fry. Remove the leaves and set aside for garnish. Add half the quantity of marinated prawns, turn continuously to seal and caramelise. This should take 2-3 minutes. Place this batch on a flat tray in a single layer. Deglaze the pan with a quarter cup of hot water to remove the caramelised flavours. Spread this over the prawns. Wash and dry the frypan, and repeat with another 100ml oil and the remaining marinated prawns. Return the clean pan to low heat and add remaining oil. Place the diced shallots and remaining spice paste into the pan, cook for 5-7 minutes until softened and golden. Add one cup of water from the kettle and bring to simmer until reduced by half. Add the coconut cream, tomato base and tamarind pulp. Simmer for 5 minutes until the tomato base is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Season with pepper and salt. Place the prawns into the sauce and simmer until just cooked through. Serve the chilli coconut prawns over steamed rice with the fresh fennel, mint and tomato salsa. Scatter over the curry leaves.

The West Australian

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