Monday, September 30, 2013

Walnuts and Prawns

I just learned that I live in the caviar capitol of the world!  I knew Sacramento was the tomato capitol, and several other capitols, but caviar??  We're inland!  Not to be deterred by a few measly miles of dry, hard land, Sterling Caviar has made this the headquarters of its sturgeon egg processing operation.  All over the world people are shelling out hundreds of dollars for tiny tins of it-- in Paris, in Russia, everywhere.  What's that, you say?  You don't like caviar?  You don't have a zillion bucks for these fish eggs?  What's wrong with you?
And welcome to the club.  I first tasted caviar in junior high and thought it tasted like gooey ashes.  Also, having gone fly fishing with my dad a number of times, and having used salmon eggs for bait, this was a hard mental image to discard.
Which brings me to a recipe that has nothing to do with caviar, and everything to do with pleasing the masses: Chinese Walnuts and Prawns. 

This is easily one of the most popular dishes at Chinese restaurants here in Capitol-Land, and while it's not an original, it's one I am happy to pass along.  It's very sweet and everybody goes crazy for it.  Even folks who dislike seafood love this.  I happen to be allergic to walnuts and I still love it (I just pick out the nuts).  Speaking of nuts, the original version of this recipe asks you to boil them, boil again, then deep fry them.  With sugar and honey.  The result is candied walnuts, so my version just starts with candied walnuts in the first place. Here's what you need:

1/2 lb. prawns, shelled and deviened
2 egg whites
1/4 Cup bread crumbs (or panko crumbs)
oil for frying
1/2 Tablespoon vinegar
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon sweetened condensed milk (Oh, like you can't find a recipe for the rest- ha!)
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 ounces candied walnuts (or candied pecans.  Sometimes in pouches in the produce section)
2-3 Cups cooked rice

1. Pat prawns dry with paper towels.  Dip in egg whites, then dredge in crumbs, to coat.  Deep fry for two minutes.
2. In a hot skillet, stir vinegar, mayonnaise, condensed milk, and sugar. Fry the prawns in this sauce for 1 minute.  Stir in candied walnuts, then serve over rice, if desired. Serves 4.

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