Invented in Singapore zi char restaurants, this seafood dish is rather special. Succulent king prawns get a nostalgic coating in and the result is rich, sweet, savoury and crunchy. The perfect share plate, add these cereal prawns to your next Asian dinner banquet and dive in.
2 ½ tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
2 ½ tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1 cup original Nestum cereal
3 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
vegetable oil, for shallow frying
600g (1lb 5oz) peeled king prawns, deveined
100g (3.5 oz) butter
6 red birdseye chillies, thinly sliced (or to taste)
8 sprigs curry leaves, leaves removed
salt, to taste
ground white pepper, to taste
To set up your coating station, combine the flour and cornflour on a small tray. In another shallow bowl, lightly whisk the egg. Combine the Nestum cereal, sugar, milk powder and crumbled stock cube in another bowl and set aside.
Line a tray with kitchen paper. Heat enough oil to shallow-fry (about 3cm/just over 1” depth) in a wok over medium-high heat. While it heats, coat half the prawns in the egg, allowing excess to drain off, then dust the prawns in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the prawns in a single layer, then cook for about 30 seconds on each side, or until the prawns are just firm and have turned orange. Transfer the prawns to the lined tray to drain. Repeat the process with the remaining prawns, egg and flour mixture. Pour the oil out of the wok into a heatproof container, taking care as it is very hot, then wipe the wok clean.
Return the wok to medium heat. Add the butter and cook until it sizzles, then add the curry leaves and chilli and cook, tossing the wok, for about 10 seconds to combine well. Add the prawns and toss them in the butter for about 1 minute, or until they are coated. Add the cereal mixture, then tossing constantly, cook for about 2 minutes or until the prawns are well coated and the cereal is a little toasted – take care it doesn’t burn. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, then serve immediately.