“My idea for this dish came from Japanese tempura: the sweet prawns encased in a light, crispy batter is a dream combination,” says Melissa Thompson.
“While tempura calls for soda water, ginger beer is a great alternative. It brings both delicate flavour and sweetness, while the bubbles make the batter as light as air.”
Serves: 4 as a starter
- 16–24 shell-on raw king prawns
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 50g cornflour
- 50g plain flour
- 120ml ice-cold ginger beer (not diet)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- lime wedges, to serve
Remove the heads and shells of the prawns, leaving on the tail sections. (You can also use shelled prawns, as long as they are raw.) Mix in a bowl with the garlic, ginger and some pepper and leave for 30 minutes.
Read: Salt and Sichuan Pepper Prawns
Pour oil into a medium-sized saucepan, following all the usual precautions for deep-frying and heating to 180°C.
Mix the flours in a bowl and pour in the ginger beer. Stir loosely, as vigorous mixing will get rid of the bubbles you want to keep; don’t worry if there are some lumps.
Just before cooking, season the prawns with a good pinch of salt. Holding a prawn by the tail, dip into the batter, then drop into the hot oil. Cook until the batter puffs up, about two minutes. Repeat to cook all the prawns, frying them in small batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.
Read: Parmesan Risotto with Garlic Prawns
Drain on a wire rack placed over kitchen paper, not directly on kitchen paper or the batter will go soggy, and serve with a squeeze of lime.
Motherland by Melissa Thompson is published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Photography by Patricia Niven. Available now.
Have you ever used ginger beer in a batter? Why not share how the recipe turns out in the comments section below?
– With PA