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Prawn CrackersPrawn Crackers

Place prepared prawns (or shrimp) in a food processor; add sea salt, white pepper and granulated sugar. Process until mixture forms a fine paste. Transfer to a large bowl; add the tapioca flour slowly. Mix until a soft dough forms. On a lightly-floured flat surface, knead dough until smooth (add more tapioca flour if dough is too sticky). Shape dough into two long uniform rolls; gently press on rolls if air bubbles appear on the surface. Coat a steamer basket with nonstick cooking spray; place rolls in basket and cover with steamer lid. Pour water into steamer reservoir; place steamer basket on top and cook for thirty minutes up to one hour, depending on roll thickness. Check water level in steamer on occasion; if it appears too low before cooking time has finished, add more. Dough logs will expand slightly as they steam-cook. Transfer logs to a plate; place in refrigerator at once to chill overnight. Once logs are chilled, slice as thinly as possible. If the slices are not thin enough, they will fail to "puff" properly and will likely be tough after deep frying. The traditional method for drying Prawn Crackers is to set roll slices on a large metal tray after steaming, and then leaving them outside in the sun to dry for up to two days. However, if you detest insects in the great outdoors as much as I do, use a food dehydrator to dry slices.

Place roll slices in a single layer in a food dehydrator; dehydrate until completely dry (about twenty-four hours). The slices will curl slightly. Preheat oven to 150-degrees F. Spread slices on a large cookie sheet; bake until heated through (about ten minutes). Heat two inches of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or wok or large pot. Add slices in batches. They will expand while cooking and float to the top within seconds. Do not allow slices to brown. Remove from oil and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels or a folded-over brown paper bag. Store in air-tight container. Crackers will keep for up to three months. Prawn Crackers are commonly eaten as an appetizer or snack in Southeast and East Asia (particularly Indonesia and Malaysia).

*Note: Tapioca Flour might also be known as Tapioca Starch, depending on where you shop.

Shenanchie's Note About Steamers: There are a variety of inexpensive steamers available on the market today. I have three of them, using one for rice, one for homemade canine fare, and the other for meats and vegetables. The steamer I use for main meals contains a cooking tray with drain holes and a bulkier dish for large bits of food.

Culinary Trivia: What's the Difference Between Prawns and Shrimp? Prawns are usually larger in size, with branching gills, longer legs and claws on three pairs. Shrimp are typically smaller in size, with lamellar gills, shorter legs and claws only on two pairs. However, both are crustaceans with ten legs, both are found in fresh and salt and waters, and both have similar flavors.

*Recipe Source: Rhonda Parkinson (Chinese Food Expert), Diana Rattray (Southern Food Expert) and Molly Watson (Local Foods Expert) at About.Com.

*Prawn Crackers image: Midori (2011). Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license and the GNU Free Documentation License.


Related Link:

Global Seafood Cookbook

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