Approx. 15 pieces (serves 3) | starter | finger food | with meals | as a side
While most people around the world would associate prawn fritters as a special treat, in Penang, it is often ‘just another dish’ to add to the array of dishes one has at every meal.
Of course, only in Penang would prawn fritters differ; from the every so crispy ‘hae chee’ in the well known hawker food ‘Lor Bak’ to the softer and gentler, vegetable-mixed ‘udang cucur’ in Mee Goreng and Pasembur to the home-cooked ‘hae ken’ for which every household would have a special recipe.
Prawn fritters, of the home-made ‘hae ken’ variety, tend to be slightly less crispy, more often bulked up with batter. Eaten at home with rice, it is a a favourite among children and adults alike. I remember helping my mum, make the batter, beating the egg and mixing in the flour, adding enough salt and pepper; creating that creamy yellow mixture that looked so satisfying when the prawns went it.
These days though, with my more sophisticated, rather grown-up palate, having been exposed to the unmatchable Japanese tempura prawns, the ‘hae ken’ of home no longer cuts it. So I experimented and experimented and I believe I’ve finally found a keeper recipe. One that produces the crisp and crunch of the tempura coupled with the irregularly, somewhat mis-shapened sploge and reminiscent of the home made battered ‘hae ken’. Crispy prawn perfection! Yum!
5 + 10 mins waiting
500gm prawns – halved lengthwise
For the Marinade
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1tsp sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp soya sauce
- 1/2 an egg white
For the Batter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 250 ml ice cold sparkling water
- 300ml sunflower oil
- Halve the prawns length wise and place in a bowl.
- Add all the marinade ingredients. Mix well. Chill in fridge for at least 15 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, add all the dry ingredients and mix well.
- When the prawns have been sufficiently chilled, add the cold sparkling water to the flour mixture and mix to a smooth paste.
- Add the prawns to the flour mixture and mix well.
- Heat oil in a wok or shallow frying pan.
- Make sure the oil is sufficiently heated before attempting to fry the fritters. See notes *
- Once oil is heated up, spoon the prawn mixture about one tablespoonful in to the oil. You can spoon several to fry simultaneously.
- When the underside turns brown, flip the fritter over to cook the other side.
* To test whether the oil is hot enough, add a small droplet of the batter to the oil. If it bubbles and cooks quickly, the oil is sufficiently heated. You can adjust the temperature to ensure that the oil is not too hot.
Serve immediately with a bowl of steamed fragrant rice as a course or on its own with dip of your choice as a side.