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April 2006 Issue
Panko Fried Prawns
by Philip R. Gantt
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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!

Well, one of my favorite things to eat is prawns. They are quick and easy to prepare, nutritious and very tasty. I particularly like fried prawns and sometimes buy frozen products for convenience. Some brands are better than others, but some of my favorite brands are no longer found in the market, and in my opinion the quality of the prepared frozen prawn and shrimp products available in the market is on the decline. However, the raw frozen products have improved in quality over the years. My solution is to make my own fried shrimp from raw frozen product.

The recipe that follows is something I tried recently and found it to be quite good. The Japanese Panko crumbs give the shrimp a nice golden color with a crunchy texture. These fried prawns can be served with a variety of sauces: sweet and sour, plum sauce, tempura dipping sauce or a traditional cocktail sauce.

Now, on to the recipe! Be well, and good eating!


Panko Fried Prawns

Being the picky eater that I am, I prefer to purchase the large raw frozen prawns. Some types of prawns have better flavor than others. Some prawns are from saltwater and others from freshwater. Both are good, but I think that the saltwater prawns are better. Alaska spot prawns are very sweet compared to most other types.

Individually quick frozen prawns are available in most markets, but I prefer to purchase black tiger prawns in a frozen 1 kilogram block. Most prawns found in the market are farmed, however it is possible to find the better tasting wild prawns in many markets or over the internet.

Recently available in the market are "quick peel" prawns that have been split down the back to make shell removal very easy. However, if you know how to peel shrimp this really doesn't save much time. Be cautious about purchasing shrimp that have been thawed and packaged in the display case. Be certain that they are freshly thawed and firm to the touch without any smell.

  • 2 dozen medium to large prawns
  • 6 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for deep frying (peanut oil preferred)
Shell the prawns leaving the tip of the tail in tact, if desired, as it makes a convenient handle. Rinse and drain the prawns, removing any veins that may be evident. Allow the prawns to drain while preparing the batter. Also, heat oil to 375 degrees in a wok or skillet for deep frying.

For the batter, combine the corn starch, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix well and add the egg. Begin mixing while slowly adding ice water to the mixture. Stop adding water when the batter has a consistency like a thin pancake batter. Place the panko crumbs in a paper plate or bowl for coating.

Once the oil is hot and the batter the proper consistency, hold each prawn by the tail and dip into the batter to fully coat on all sides except the tail. After dipping in the batter, drag the prawn through the panko crumbs to be coated on all sides. Then drop the prawn into the hot oil. Fry no more than 6 or 8 prawns at a time. Allow each to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the coating becomes a golden brown. Remove from the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and serve on a bed of lettuce leaves with the dipping sauces of your choice on the side.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Quick Cocktail Sauce
  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 1/4 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes
  • Tobasco sauce, wasabi powder or horseradish to taste
Mix the above ingredients and chill before serving.

Quick Gourmet Tempura Dipping Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Kikkoman Tempura Dipping Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. cream sherry
  • 2 slices ginger, about 1 inch long
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
Heat the above in a small pot at medium heat until it has simmered for 1 minute. Remove the ginger and garlic and serve warm as a dipping sauce in individual bowls.

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