If you've ever been disappointed by soggy sesame prawn toast arriving at your house from a take-away, Victoria suggests, the perfect solution: make it yourself. She shares her recipe for this delicious Chinese starter.
The London food scene’s obsession with pimped up “dirty” food is staying put. You can’t throw a lettuce leaf without hitting a trendy burger and who doesn’t delight in quaffing Champagne while gnawing on a hot dog? We’ve already seen poshed-up sliders, chilli dogs and fried chicken, so it’s only a matter of time before our appetite for jujjed junk leads us on to other snacks to rev-up.
I’m no stranger to the queue for a 3am shish after a night out on the tiles, but it feels like there are enough good kebab shops already for the doner to remain makeover free. For my junk of choice, it’s sesame prawn toast all the way. And it’s about time shrimp got sexy.
When it’s good, it’s unrivalled, but too often you’re left with an unpalatably oily triangle of cheap deep-fried bread with a smear of something vaguely fishy on top. A greasy disappointment even from some of the best Chinese takeaways I’ve eaten. The trouble is, sesame prawn toast just doesn’t travel well. You need to eat it when it’s piping hot, dunked stickily and generously in fiery chilli sauce, so bunging it in a takeaway box for 10 minutes on the back of a bike before eating isn’t likely to whip up a frenzy in anyone’s taste buds. What’s the solution then? Eat out or, better still, make it yourself.
What better way to see in the Chinese New Year than with this deliciously moreish (if almost certainly unauthentic) Chinese takeaway classic? And while we’re celebrating the year of the Snake, let’s wave goodbye to the year of the Dragon by toasting our toast with a slug of Chinese firewater. Well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it.
Sesame Prawn Toast
I made this with white Genius gluten free bread, but you can use any old bread you like, but don’t go too posh. As far as I’m concerned, cheap white bread is definitely your friend here.
6-8 (depending on size) slices of bread
150g raw prawns, de-veined
1 large garlic clove
A thumb of root ginger
3 spring onions
1 red chilli, deseeded
A generous splash a soy sauce (make sure you use gluten free if making a GF version of this dish)
A splash of sesame oil
Rice flour – just enough to bind the mixture so it’s not too sloppy
Oil for deep frying (I used groundnut, but sunflower or vegetable will do the job)
Roughly chop the prawns, garlic, ginger, onions and chilli and stick the lot in a food processor with the egg, soy and sesame oil. Blitz until you have a paste, adding a little bit of rice flour if your mixture is too sloppy.
Spread the mixture generously over the slices of bread, with more in the middle than the edges. Pour you sesame seeds into a bowl big enough to fit in the sliced bread and dunk it, prawn mixture side down, into the seeds to stick. Cut your slices into two or four triangles (again, this depends how big your slices are – gluten free bread tends to come up smaller, so I only cut mine in half).
Heat up the oil in a wide heavy-bottomed pan and use a fish slice to carefully place them in the hot oil, sesame side down. Leave them for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, before carefully flipping them over in the oil for another minute or so to brown the other side. Do this in batches, so you don’t overcrowd the pan. If you put too many in at once, your oil will cool and your toast will get soggy. Once it’s nicely golden, fish your prawn toast out of the oil and drain it on kitchen paper, before serving with sweet chilli sauce.
Inspired? For more Chinese New Year recipes visit Great British Chefs. What are some of your favourite Chinese take away dishes? Have you ever tried making them at home? Let us know over on Great British Chefs Facebook page.