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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Prawn Toast

As you know, I am all in favour of eating with the seasons and wish that supermarket stocks would reflect the seasons more than they do. Having said that, there is one food item that disappears from the supermarket shelves for several months of the year that I wish would be available all year round. That food is prawn toast. It first appears in January, in time for the Chinese new year and stays on the shelves until the barbecue season, when it disappears to make way for barbecue meat. Then Christmas fare replaces the barbecue foods, preventing the prawn toast from reappearing until January.

As you may have realised, I like prawn toast and it makes a nice little addition to our home cooked Chinese meal that we have probably about once a fortnight. It is therefore a little annoying not to be able to buy it all the time. So, the other day when I was thinking that I really fancied a couple of triangles of it, I wondered how hard could it be to make my own. To be honest, I didn't have much of a clue as to what might go into it, other than bread, prawns and sesame seeds. Still, a short internet search soon gave me some ideas and various recipes. Most of them used 8 slices of bread, making a whopping 32 triangles... I only wanted 8!

So, I jotted down a few ideas for ingredients, quartering what had been suggested and then went off into the kitchen to give it a go. It is at times like this that it is really handy to have homegrown garlic and shallots available because they come in all sorts of different sizes and I just needed one tiny shallot and one tiny garlic clove for my scaled down recipe. The other consideration was that, when cooking a stirfry, the last few minutes of the meal preparations can become a bit hectic when you feel as if you need about 4 arms as everything is on the go at once. So, ideally, I wanted to just pop my prawn toast into the oven to reheat - like the frozen ones I usually buy - rather than having to create them in addition to everything else I would be doing. I decided, therefore, to make them in advance, leave them to cool and just pop them back into the oven to reheat before serving. I figured too that this would probably give them the nice crisp texture that I like.

The recipe was surprisingly straightforward to make - really just an exotic fried bread. They reheated perfectly too and, as for the flavour, let's just say I won't be bothering with the shop bought ones anymore!

Prawn Toast (makes 8 triangles)

50g cooked prawns (thawed if frozen)
A little egg white - about 2 teaspoons
1 tiny clove of garlic
1 tiny shallot
3/4 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sweet chilli sauce (optional)
1 tsp cornflour
2 pinches of five spice powder
2 slices of bread
Sesame seeds

Put the prawns and other ingredients (except for the bread and sesame seeds) into a blender and blend briefly until a slightly lumpy paste forms. Cut the crusts off the bread then spread the paste over the 2 slices. Heavily sprinkle over the sesame seeds and press down lightly. Cut each slice of bread into 4 triangles. Heat some oil in a frying pan and shallow fry the bread for about 2-3 minutes on each side then set aside on a baking tray (or serve at this point). Reheat in an oven at 180C, gas 4 for 5 minutes then serve hot with a Chinese-style meal.

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