The hint of beer makes this very simple batter light and delicious, while the intensely flavoured dipping sauce is reminiscent of those sour, salty, sweet and spicy Vietnamese-style sauces often served with deep-fried spring rolls.
Again, the vibrancy of the sauce is used to offset the richness of deep-frying.
These prawns are great to serve as a starter at a dinner party or even as a canapé with cocktails.
Peel, de-vein and butterfly prawns, leaving tails intact.
When ready to cook the prawns, make the batter.
Heat oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly.
Lightly toss prawns in flour then dip in batter, one at a time, to coat completely, letting any excess drain off.
Add prawns in batches to the hot oil and deep-fry for about 1 minute or until just cooked through and lightly browned.
Remove prawns with a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper.
Repeat process with remaining prawns.
Arrange prawns on a platter and serve immediately with a bowl of Sweet Chilli and Carrot Dipping Sauce.
When ready to cook the prawns, combine batter ingredients in a bowl with a slotted spoon (using a spoon rather than a whisk keeps the batter thick and lumpy, and the lumps become crunchy when deep-fried).
You may need to add a little more flour to the batter if it is too runny – it all depends on the humidity.
Leave batter at room temperature until ice has half melted; start using immediately at this stage.
Sweet Chilli and Carrot Dipping Sauce:
Finely slice carrot lengthways into ribbons, using a vegetable peeler.
Cut carrot into a fine julienne.
Combine carrot in a bowl with sugar and salt, mix well and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Drain carrots and, using your hands, gently squeeze away any excess liquid.
Meanwhile, place vinegar and extra sugar in a medium-sized heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by almost half and slightly syrupy.
Remove from stove, stir in pickled carrots, fish sauce and chillies and set aside.
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