Sunday, May 6, 2007

Honey Walnut Prawns

When I was a teenager, there were some foods I did not like; one of which was mayonnaise. To me it tasted weird and when I found out what it was made from, raw egg yolk and oil, I wondered how anyone could like something so strange (seemed icky too). Now that I'm older, I’ve come to appreciate things like fats, raw foods, and mayo. Mayo definitely has its place. A BLT wouldn't be the same without a thin layer of mayo and there would be no potato salad, egg salad, or honey walnut prawns if there was no mayo. Honey walnut prawns is a very popular dish in many Chinese restaurants. It may not be an “authentic” Chinese dish but that doesn’t matter to me because it’s really tasty. When I first tried it a few years ago, I was a bit hesitant due to my no-mayo policy but I liked it so much, I gave mayo a second chance.

Honey Walnut Prawns
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp Shao Hsing rice cooking wine
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 egg white
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C corn starch
Oil for frying

1/4 C mayo
2 tsp honey*
2 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp Salt

Glazed Nuts
3/4 C walnuts or pecans halves
2 tsp honey*
Scant tsp water
Sliced lettuce and or toasted white sesame seeds for garnish
*Honey is a pain in the butt to measure so I just eyeballed the amounts

Beat the egg white until lightly foam. Toss the shrimp with rice wine, white pepper, beaten egg white and salt. Let marinate in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes.

To make the glazed nuts, mix the honey with a bit of water until its smooth and liquidy but not too thin. Toss the nuts with the honey glaze and spread into an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 300ºF for about 15 minutes, toss them every 5 minutes. They’ll crisp up when they're completely cool.

For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together and set aside.

While the oil is heating, dredge the prawns in cornstarch. Heat oil to 350ºF and fry the shrimp for 2 minutes. I didn’t deep fry the shrimp, just pan fried them. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Then fold the mayo dressing with the shrimp.

To serve, add the shrimp on top of a bed of shredded lettuce and sprinkle with candied nuts. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and a spring of cilantro (optional).

Serves 4.

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