Tempura prawns in sweet ‘n’ sour sauce

This prawn dish is one of my go to recipes when I have no fresh meat or fish in the fridge. I don't have a deep fat fryer and being a bit lazy I rarely deep fat fry in a saucepan; it's the cleaning up bit I can't be bothered with. Shallow frying the prawns in a tempura style thick batter is simple and even if I do say so myself, it tastes awesome.

With the tomatoes and selection of other vegetables this sweet ‘n’ sour dish is probably a bit healthier than the takeaway equivalent. Though I must say this dish is only inspired by this takeaway great and by no means attempts to be authentic.


Frozen responsibly sourced raw jumbo king prawns, rape seed oil
The sauce: 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 courgette, a few green beans, a large clove of garlic, tin of tomatoes, Tabasco sauce, 40ml red wine vinegar, 2tbsp caster sugar, soy sauce
Tempura batter: 1tbsp cornflour, 1tbsp flour, 1tsp bicarbonate of soda, 40 ml water and tsp salt.
The rice: Wholegrain rice, 4-5 Cardomen pods and stick of cinnamon.

Cooking the rice

The first job is to get the rice on. You can choose any rice long grain rice really. I normally go for whole grain as I like its slightly earthier flavour and I'm told it's good for me.

While the kettle is doing its thing, put a couple of tablespoons of rape seed oil into a saucepan and drop in the stick of cinnamon and the cardamom pods. After a couple of minutes you should start smelling their aromas. At this point add the rice and gently stir until the rice is coated in the fragrant oil.

Pour in the boiled water so that is about two centimetres above the height of the rice. Simmer on low heat with the lid on for 25 minutes.

Turn off and leave lid on until you're ready to serve (this should be about 15 mins)

Preparing the Sweet and sour sauce

Now that the rice is on you have a 15 minute window to prep your vegetables. Chop your vegetables so that you can still see what they are.

When you're ready, pop the onions and carrot in a saucepan with a little oil - add a little bit of salt.

After the contents of the pan have softened slightly add all the rest of the vegetables and the tin of tomatoes

It's now time to add a bit of heat and build in the sweet and sour flavour. Add a few drops of Tobasco sauce - you can add more later after the flavours have developed.

Pour in the vinegar and add the caster sugar. The proportions above should provide the necessary balance of sweet and sour - plus the sugar will give it a glossy finish.

Put a lid on and leave to simmer on a low heat. By the time you have done all sauce there will be about 20 minutes left before serving.

The shallow fried tempura prawns

Depending on the prawns you have, you may have to take out their poop tube.

You do this by gently slicing down their back. If they need this job doing you'll see a dark brown thin tube. All you need to do is remove it - don't worry it's easy.

If there's no dark brown tube - jobs a good’un. Still gently slice down the back of your prawns.

When you have about 8 minutes to go, using a mixing bowl add the tablespoon of cornflour, the same quantity of plain flour, the bicarbonate of soda and a good pinch of salt.

Add the water a little bit at a time and mix. The consistency you are looking for is thick and gloopy - don't worry about the odd small lump.

Drop all your prawns into the mixture.

Five minutes prior to serving, gently place all the prawns into a hot frying pan with some rape seed oil. The golden colour of the oil helps towards the end look of the dish.

After 2 minutes of frying, turn the prawns over. Fry for a further 2 minutes and then place on a piece of kitchen towel before serving.

To serve

Place the rice in a domed bowl or cup and gently pack down. Place plate upside down on cup, flip over and remove cup. Hopefully you'll have a nice dome, now you can drapes the sauce over the rice and pop the crispy prawns where you think best.

If you like this recipe, why not check out other richinflavour recipes.