These are the best as a little snack or in rice paper rolls. They’re even better as the headliner in a vermicelli salad and nuoc mam cham dressing.
I always hover around my local seafood shop in Summer for the lake prawns. They don’t always have them and when they do, they often go pretty quick. I don’t know who else, or what culture also loves these little mouthfuls, but I know I rarely go without snapping at least half a kilo up.
Prices usually range from the mid teens to the low 20 dollar mark. These aren’t baby prawns as such, but a smaller variety and often much sweeter than the large prawns we all love to BBQ and peel. Being so small, they’re a bugger to peel, but worth the effort if you’re one to savour flavour.
Now for me, my fave way to eat these is a quick fry in hot oil, after a dusting of corn flour, salt and pepper.
Step 1: Wash your prawns in a sink of cold water. Get out all the seaweed and sand. Just swoosh them around a bit and be careful not to prick yourself with their tiny barbs.
Step 2: With a pair of scissors, cut off the head (or half the head if you like prawn brain). Snipping off tails and some legs is optional, if you have the time and effort really. Place prepared prawns into a strainer on the side.
Step 3: Once you’ve done the hard part, place a few tablespoons of corn flour, a good pinch of salt and pepper and toss the prawns in the flour until they’re thoroughly coated. I like to chuck them into an air filled zip-lock bag and bounce them around in the mixture a bit (like a balloon).
Optional add ins; chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder or any dried herb you fancy.
Step 4: Tip the prawns out into a strainer to remove the excess flour.
Step 5: Heat oil on medium high in a deep pot for flash frying. Test the oil is ready by putting a wooden chopstick into the oil. If it sizzles a little, you’re oil is ready!
Step 6: In small batches, fry the prawns for a few minutes or until crispy. Watch out for the water that might flick and splutter a bit. Take them out using a strainer scoop and allow to cool slightly on a rack or paper towel. Serve with aioli, siracha mayo or any sauce of your choice.
CHEF TIP: I’ve seen some recipes having the prawns in a thin egg mixture before the cornflour mix. This will help the cornflour stick to the prawns and create chunks of flour, almost like a batter.
I hope you enjoy your summer lake prawns!
Let me know how you go. I’d love some feedback.