Coconut prawns with lime mayonnaise

Crunchy baked prawns and something zesty to dip them into.

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This recipe involves slightly more malarkey than I'd ordinarily put myself (or you) through – I always think dipping and coating food feels more like craft than cooking – but it's not at all difficult and doesn't take long. To make it easier, toast the panko and make the lime mayonnaise in advance; once they're organised, it's a speedy and straightforward process to get these tasty, crunchy prawns on the table.

We usually eat these with nothing more than a simple salad alongside. Oh, and a cold beer or glass of wine – I think that's essential!


Coconut prawns with lime mayonnaise

For 2, or more as a starter (makes about 16 medium prawns)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
40g (¾ cup) panko
20g (¼ cup) shredded coconut
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 egg white
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
250g (½ lb) prawns, peeled and deveined, tails on

for the lime mayonnaise:
¼ cup good quality whole egg mayonnaise
1 lime
few drops Tabasco
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the panko and toast, stirring, until lightly golden. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the coconut, and stir together.

In a second bowl, mix together the egg white, Dijon mustard and garam masala.

Set your oven to 190°C (375°F). Place a rack on a baking sheet.

Arrange your workspace from left to right*: raw prawns, egg white–Dijon mixture, panko-coconut mixture, baking sheet.

Holding a prawn by the tail, dip it into the Dijon mixture, then transfer it into the panko mixture. Coat well with your free hand, press lightly to set and place on your rack. Repeat with the remaining prawns.

Put the prawns in the oven and bake for 12 minutes.

While they cook, make the lime mayonnaise. Place the mayonnaise in a small bowl. Grate in the zest of half the lime, then cut it in half and add the juice. (Cut the other half into wedges to serve with the prawns).

Add a few drops of Tabasco and a grinding of black pepper. Stir together and taste, adjusting with more Tabasco to your desired level of heat.

*Or right to left. I'm not sure that it really matters how you organise it; I just like to set things up assembly-line style for this kind of work, and it makes the process less messy than it could be.