Cereal prawns (artificial light gives bad food photos doesn't it), a tasty dish of crispy cereal, prawns, butter, curry leaves and chilies.
This is a simple recipe from a Singaporean TV cooking show that I found on YouTube. I adjusted some of the ingredients to my taste and also peeled half the prawns and left the balance unpeeled just to see which ones taste better. Usually the prawns for this dish are not shelled and yes, my conclusion is that the unshelled prawns taste better. Instead of large prawns, I suggest using medium-sized prawns for their thinner shells because they crisp thoroughly so that the shells can be eaten too, along with the cereal sticking to the shells. Prawn shells are made of chitin which has been found to have health benefits (glucosamine is made from prawn shells and chitin speeds up healing of wounds and skin) so no harm there. This is a delicious but rather rich dish so proceed with caution.
500 gm (10 to 12) medium large prawns, shells and heads on & butterflied
1/2 beaten egg
2 to 3 T cornflour (plain flour in original recipe)
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 to 2 t chopped bird's eyes chilies (or milder red chili)
1 cup cereal
3 T milk powder
2 T icing sugar
optional: a few shakes of msg
3 T butter
veg oil for frying
1. Mix the milk powder, cereal, icing sugar and msg in a bowl. Marinade the prawns with some salt, white pepper, the 1/2 egg and cornstarch.
2. Deep-fry the prawns in hot oil until very crispy and cooked but do not overcook or prawns'll get tough and dry. Drain well. In restaurants, such prawns can be deep-fried until half-cooked and re-fried upon orders. The second frying makes very crispy prawns that stay crisp longer. If shelling the prawns (remove the shell from the body only, leave the heads and tails on), just shallow-fry both sides in a pan with a smear of oil.
3. In a clean frying pan or the same wok used for frying the prawns earlier, add the butter and the leaves (so that the leaves have more time to crisp) under medium-low heat. When leaves are crispy, reduce heat to very low, add the cereal mixture and stir, until the cereal turns golden and crispy. Be careful not to burn the cereal; they burn easily. Add the fried prawns to mix and dish up. Serve immediately.