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Coconut Prawns

American friends of mine had a shrimp farm on the coast of Ecuador and I never missed a chance, when in the area, to visit him. His house, built to modern American standards, with all mod-cons, including whirl pool, deep sunken bath tubs and a broad wooden balcony, was ideally situated on top of a headland, overlooking the Pacific ocean. 
His wife mixed the most delicious cocktails using the papaya, melon or pineapple which she cultivated herself. Dinner never varied when I visited. We would start by serving ourselves gaspachio or cold coconut soup from a beautiful antique French tureen – a treasured gift from her grandmother. This would be followed by an immense ceramic bowl, piled high with simply cooked, fresh shrimp and individual portions of lemon slices and aji, the national hot sauce. We would stay on the balcony, sipping bottles of cold beer, making pigs of ourselves and putting the world to rights, until long after the sun had disappeared at the other end of the ocean.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. In this case, a landslide, caused by a  devastating earthquake swept the house and the headland into the sea. Fortunately my friends were not a home at that time and the last time I heard from them, they were building a new home – but further inland.

Coconut Prawns

• 1 1/2 kg green king prawns, peeled with the tails left on
• 3/4 cup flour
• 1 pinch salt
• 1 tablespoon cornflour
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
• 180 ml cold water
• shredded coconut
• 2 tablespoons flour (extra)
• vegetable oil (for deep frying)

De-vein prawns and rinse quickly under cold running water, then flatten very slightly with the heel of your hand.
Refrigerate until needed.
Sift flour, salt and cornflour into a bowl.
Add vinegar and water and mix to a smooth batter.
Spread coconut on a flat plate.
Dust prawns lightly with extra flour, then dip into the batter.
Allow the excess to run off then coat with coconut.
Heat oil in a wok or deep frying pan and test for the correct temperature with one prawn (oil should not be too hot or the coconut will burn before the prawn cooks).
Cook prawns in batches and drain on paper towels.
Serve hot, accompanied with lime wedges and dipping sauces such as Yoghurt and Mint Sauce or Chilli Plum Sauce.

Recipe courtesy of Recipe Zaar - Fly at a Smile-Price