Salted duck eggs are strange but wonderful ingredients. Generally preserved in either a brine solution or packed densely in charcoal, the eggs have a salted, slightly chalky feel and a very bright yolk. Because of their extreme salty taste and texture, the eggs tend not eaten by themselves, but rather used for making unique sauces or serving alongside roast meats and rice or congee. In this recipe the salted duck egg yolks are used to both thicken and flavour the wrapping sauce for the crispy prawns.
PREPARATION TIME: 30 MINUTES PLUS MARINATING
COOKING TIME: 10 MINUTES
You Will Need
Put the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix together well, then add the prawns and leave to marinate for a minimum of 10 minutes, or up to 2 hours for best results.
To make the sauce, steam the eggs in a wok with a steamer stand for 10 minutes, then leave to cool. Once cool, peel off the shells and separate the whites from the yolks. Set aside the whites for use in another recipe and crumble the yolks into a small bowl. Using the underside of a spoon, blend the egg yolk into a paste, then mix it together with the rest of the sauce ingredients until smooth and free of lumps.
Finely chop the chilli, if using, and set aside.
Add the cornflour to the marinated prawns and mix together with your hands until the prawns are dry and dusty-white in colour.
BUILD YOUR WOK CLOCK: put your prawns at 12 o’clock, then arrange the curry leaves, chilli and sauce bowl clockwise around your plate.
Half-fill a large pot, wok or deep-fryer with vegetable oil and heat to 180°C (350°F), or until the tip of a wooden chopstick or skewer starts to fizz after a second or so in the oil.
Carefully add the prawns and deep-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the prawns carefully with a slotted spoon and drain well on a plate covered with kitchen paper.
In a separate wok, heat ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil over a low heat, add the curry leaves and chilli, if using, and stir-fry for 30 seconds or so until fragrant. Pour over the sauce and continue to cook, stirring, for a further minute or so until the sauce has thickened slightly and is just starting to boil. Add the prawns to the wok and toss through two to three times to mix everything together. Serve immediately.
TIP: To devein a prawn, use a small, sharp knife to make a slit along the middle of the back to expose the dark vein, then pull it out. Alternatively insert a toothpick roughly three-quarters of the way up the back of the prawn and pull the vein up and out of the prawn.