Spicy Prawn Crackers
A warning: after you have experienced these totally delicious prawn crackers you will not want the tasteless packet variety anymore. These are so different and well worth the little bit of effort. Actually, I can’t lie, it’s quite a lot of effort, but I promise it is worthwhile and with another lock down looming, many of us have some time on our hands. So, as usual with Canapease recipes, the completed crackers can be made ahead, but even handier, the steamed dough can be frozen for another time and the dehydrated discs will keep for weeks in an airtight tin, ready for when you need a delicious treat. The weight of the prawns should be equal to the weight of the tapioca flour so why not make up double the quantity and you will have a supply of tasty prawn crackers for weeks.
Another idea, which I haven’t tried yet, would be to add different flavourings; dried garlic and hot smoked paprika are a couple that spring to mind.
150g cooked and peeled tiger prawns
150g tapioca flour (if you can't find this in your supermarket, it is available from health food shops or, of course, Amazon)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional, but it makes the crackers a bit spicier, add a little more for a greater kick)
Vegetable oil to fry
Blot the prawns with kitchen towel if frozen. Whizz in a food processor until they form a rough paste.
Add the tapioca flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne and process until everything is well mixed and the dough starts to come together. It should be grainy and sandy looking. Add a little water if it seems too dry and add a little tapioca flour if it seems too wet. The dough should be just holding its shape when you squeeze it together, but not sticky.
Tip the dough out and knead for a few minutes, until it is smooth. It should feel very rubbery. Form a sausage shape that will fit in your steamer.
Line the steaming basket with parchment paper and steam the dough for about an hour. Keep an eye on the water level.
Cool the dough and then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 12 hours.
When you are at the dehydrating stage, put the wrapped dough in a freezer for about 30 minutes. This will make it easier to cut it into thin slices. It can also be totally frozen at this stage.
Take the dough out of the freezer, unwrap it and using a very sharp knife, cut slices as thin as possible.
Place the slices either in a dehydrator* (a 50°) or in an oven at its lowest temperature (on a lined baking sheet) and dehydrate for 4 or 5 hours. The slices need to be really hard and crispy.
The dehydrated discs will keep in an airtight container for several weeks. Putting a silica gel sachet in the bottom of the container will ensure the discs remain perfectly dry (see Tips page).
To cook, heat a pan of vegetable oil to 190° (I use a wok to do this). Put a few discs in the hot oil at a time. Press them down if they do not fully submerge. Then when they puff up, turn them over and take them out of oil. This only takes a couple of minutes or less. Place the cooked crackers on paper kitchen towel to blot off any excess oil.
The cooked prawn crackers will keep for a couple of days or more in an airtight container if you put a silica gel sachet at the bottom of the container, but you are unlikely to have many left. They are delicious.
Serve with sweet chilli dipping sauce or any other dip you like.
* As said above, you don't need a dehydrator to make the prawn crackers, but should you decide you would like one, there are some quite inexpensive models around. I think mine was about £25 not very long ago. They are brilliant for drying things like banana slices, apples, pineapple and mango.