If I had to choose one type of cuisine to eat for the rest of my life it would be Asian food. I was born in Singapore (my Dad is half Singaporean) and I go ga ga for anything that reminds me of it – frangipanis, heat, humidity, but more than anything, the food. The smells and flavours bring back memories of childhood visits to visit family and friends.
An Asian dish I love is the Vietnamese prawn pancake. It’s always the first thing we order at family dinner’s in Victoria Street (in Melbourne).
I’ve used chickpea flour instead of rice flour in this recipe because I prefer the flavour and texture. Chickpea flour is gluten free and higher in protein than other flours. It can also be used as a substitute for eggs when mixed with liquid so this is a great recipe if you need to cater to vegans or anyone with egg intolerances. I’ve also used rice malt syrup in the dressing instead of sugar because it’s fructose free and low GI.
This dish is traditionally served as one big pancake, which is then broken off and put into lettuce cups, but I’ve gone for a deconstructed version with smaller pancakes people can make for themselves. It can get messy, but that’s half the fun!
You will need:
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup coconut milk (I use Ayam)
1/4 cup water
Pinch of sea salt or himalayan rock salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
Sesame oil, for frying
1 cup Bean shoots
1 carrot, julienne or grated
1 cucumber, julienne or thinly sliced
500 grams cooked medium prawns
Mint (or basil)
1 tbs brown rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 tbs rice malt syrup (I use Pure Harvest)
2 tbs sesame oil (I use Melrose cold pressed organic)
1 lime, juiced
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
What to do:
1. Whisk the chickpea flour, coconut milk, turmeric, water and salt until smooth. Allow to stand for at least 30 minutes.
2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, pour into a dipping bowl and set aside.
2. Heat sesame oil in a fry pan over a medium to high heat. Pour approx. 1/2 ladles of pancake batter into the pan, swirling to form thin mini pancakes (or pickles). Allow to cook until golden and crisp before flipping. Repeat process to make remaining pancakes.
3. Serve on a platter with all the filling ingredients, lettuce cups and herbs. Fill lettuce cups with pancakes, prawns, veggies and herbs, roll up, dip into the sauce and hear the crunch as you take your first mouthful!
Serves 3-4 people.