Shrimps or prawns are just perfect for an entree or starters. They are light, tasty, have a delightful texture and don't overpower the appetite. The classic prawn cocktail, served cold insipid, slimy and lifeless has ruined the concept of shrimps as entrees. But, there are many fabulous alternatives the try which are outlined below, including a best ever recipe for shrimp cocktail. Of course you need very fresh green or cooked prawns to do these recipes justice.
Prepare your grill or barbecue on high heat, with a cooler part and a hotter section for fast cooking over hot coals or a flame. Thread a water-soaked skewer through each shrimp, starting at the tail end and right through to just short of the head end. Brush the shrimp with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt the butter using your microwave oven or in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and mix well. Place the prawn skewers on the hottest part of the grill over the hot coals or flame, with the protruding bamboo skewer ends over the cool side of the grill. Grill for about 2 minutes for each side. Then, quickly remove to a serving dish. Brush and spoon generously with the garlic and melted garlic mix. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately while hot.
Warm the cooked prawns a little in your microwave oven. Arrange the avocado, witlof, prawns,chives and dill on serving plates. Mix the lemon juice, oil and mustard in a small jug. Pour the dressing over the prawn salad and serve immediately.
Using a sharp knife and tweezers, remove the veins from the prawns. Then, insert a bamboo or metal skewer through each prawn, from tail to head. This keeps the prawns straight while they are being cooked. Heat a large saucepan of salted water over high hat until it boils. Add the prawns and simmer vigorously for about 2 minutes, until just cooked through. Drain and set aside. Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water and let cook for about 2 minutes. Rinse the noodles under cold running water and shale to drain. Using kitchen scissors or a knife, slice into 2 inch (5 cm) lengths. Add the basil, mint and coriander leaves and mix through.
To make a dipping sauce, pound the garlic, chilli and coriander root to a coarse paste using a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small jug and add the palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce. Mix well to dissolve the sugar. Taste and adjust the flavor by adding more sugar or more lime juice. Set aside.
Start assembling the rolls by filling a medium-size bowl with hot water. Place the rice paper wrappers in the hot water one at a time to soften them. Place all of them on a clean tea towel. Fold the top-side down of the wrapper over to create a flat top edge. Remove the skewers from prawns and place one prawn in the center of each wrapper. Place 1/4 cup of noodles, 1/4 cup of the combined herbs and one tablespoon green mango on top of each prawn. Fold the bottom edge up, roll the wrapper to enclose the filling. Set aside on a serving plate and fill the remaining wrappers. Serve with dipping sauce.
Place the chillies and salt in a small bowl and set aside in a cool place overnight or for several days. Place the lard and water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, set aside to cool, and then combine with the flour in a bowl. Mix using a spoon until the dough falls a ball. Turn the dough out on to a clean work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for 60-90 minutes. Pulse the prawns in a food processor to form a coarse paste. Add the prawn mixture to a medium bowl and add cornflour, shaoxing wine, ginger, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, and mix well. Slice the shiitake mushrooms thinly and fold into the prawn mixture. Next, unwrap the dough and slice it into 14 discs. Knead and then roll each disk to 9 cm (4 in) circular wrap. Place 1-2 tablespoonful of the prawn mixture into the centre of each disc. Gather the edges of the dough upwards to encase the prawn filling, squeezing the tops to seal. Cook the dumplings in a large bamboo steamer lined with baking paper for 8-10 minutes, until the pastry is translucent and prawn filling is cooked.
Make the dipping sauce by rinsing the chillies, marinated in salt, in cold running water, squeezing out any excess liquid. Add to a small bowl with some soy sauce and black vinegar. Serve the warm dumplings topped with the dipping sauce.
Use a sharp knife to butterfly and remove the veins from the prawns. Carefully cut into the belly of the prawn, not quite all the way through. With a small knife remove the intestine. Then, press down on the prawn flatten it and open it up to form a butterfly shape. Next, make the flour coating by combining the flour, salt and 2 teaspoons of Sichuan pepper in a medium-size bowl. Add the prawns and toss to evenly coat in the flour mixture. Transfer the prawns to a colander and toss to shake off excess flour. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until it is just about to smoke. Add 5-6 pawns at a time and cook for 2 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked prawns and drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Serve the prawns dusted with extra salt and pepper, and lemon wedges.
For the sauce:
For the prawns and salad
Place the mayonnaise in a bowl and mix in the other sauce ingredients. Fry the prawns in a hot frying pan until pink all over, but just cooked. Add the hot prawns to the sauce and mix well, keeping 4 aside to garnish when serving. Cut the cucumber in half length ways, and finely dice after scooping out the seed. Peel the avocado, dice finely and mix with the cucumber in a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and season well with salt, freshly ground black pepper. Shred the lettuce fairly finely, and add to the mixture. Add a serving of the salad to 4 serving bowls. Add a scoop of prawns and top with a little extra salad, chives and cayenne pepper. Top with one extra prawns as a garnish and serve immediately.
Preheat your grill or barbecue to very hot. Place all the chopped herbs and ingredients into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and add the lime juice and zest, and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes to develop the flavours. Remove the heads from the prawns, peel, de-vein, but leave the last two tail sections on. Grill or barbecue the prawns for only 45-60 seconds for each side until they turn pink. Serve in bowls on a bed of tossed herbs.
For the tamarind sauce
Make the tamarind sauce by heating the oil in a deep heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the dried chillies, garlic and chopped fresh red chilli to the pan and cook for 60-90 seconds. Then, add the shallots, birds-eye chilli and cook for another minute. Add the palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind and salt and mix to combine and dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and carefully add the water to the sauce. Simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes and then set aside. Next, heat the oil in a wok over medium to high heat. Combine the tapioca ﬂour and rice ﬂour in a bowl. Add the prawns and toss to coat. Place in a colander and shake off any excess. Deep-fry the prawns in small batches for 4-6 minutes, until pink in color. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain the prawns on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining prawns. Blanch the Chinese broccoli in a saucepan of boiling water for 60-90 seconds and then drain. Place the Chinese broccoli on a serving plate, add the prawns and pour over some of the hot tamarind sauce. Garnish with coriander leaves and chilli, and serve hot.