King prawn and green pawpaw salad with nam jim dressing.
King prawn and green pawpaw salad with nam jim dressing. Photo: William Meppem

KING PRAWN AND GREEN PAWPAW SALAD WITH NAM JIM DRESSING

16 large cooked king prawns, peeled, deveined and tails intact

1 small green pawpaw, skin and seeds removed, julienned

Jasmine custard.
Jasmine custard. Photo: William Meppem

2 small Lebanese cucumbers, cut in half lengthways, seeds removed and thinly sliced on the angle into half-moons

1 punnet cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 small eschalot, peeled and finely sliced

1 small handful coriander leaves

1 small handful Thai basil leaves

1 small handful mint leaves, roughly torn

1 small handful Vietnamese mint leaves, roughly torn

Nam jim dressing

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 coriander roots, finely chopped

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp light palm sugar, crumbled

2 tbsp fish sauce

1/2 long red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped

1/2 long green chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped

juice of 1 large lime

Serves 4


For the dressing, place the garlic, coriander root and sea salt in a mortar and pound with pestle until the mixture makes a rough paste. Remove and place in a bowl.

With a mortar and pestle, dissolve the palm sugar with the fish sauce, ensuring there are no lumps. Add to the garlic and coriander mix, along with chopped red and green chillies, and stir well to combine. Add the lime juice. Taste and adjust if necessary, to ensure there is a balance of sweet, sour and salty.

Mix all salad ingredients together in a large bowl and add enough dressing to wet the salad. Mix through thoroughly. Share between four plates and top with any leftover dressing. Serve immediately.

 

JASMINE CUSTARD

320ml thickened cream

60ml milk

2 tbsp jasmine tea leaves

85g caster sugar

yolks of 5 medium-size eggs (60g)

Serves 4


Combine the cream and milk in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the jasmine tea leaves and turn off the heat. Cover with lid and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 150°C. Place 4 x 125ml ramekins in a medium roasting pan or baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk the caster sugar and egg yolks together until thick and a pale yellow. Strain the cream through a fine sieve.

Whisking constantly, gradually add the cream to the egg mixture until well combined. Pour the custard into the cups, filling them to about 3/4 full.

Carefully place the tray in the oven and pour enough water into the pan to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the custards are just set. Remove from water bath and allow to cool completely.

To serve, preheat an oven grill. Sprinkle the cool custards evenly with the brown sugar and place under the grill until the sugar melts and caramelises. You can also use a blowtorch to gently caramelise the sugar.

 

HOT TIPS

• You can serve the pawpaw salad sprinkled with roughly chopped roasted peanuts, crispy eschalots or ground roast rice.

• If you like, replace the green pawpaw with green mango.

• Flaked pieces of hot smoked salmon work beautifully with the salad.

• The salad can also be served in lettuce cups. Just remove the tails from the prawns and cut the flesh into small pieces.

• The custards would be perfect served alongside a fruit salad.

 

SOMETHING TO DRINK

Pazo Barrantes Albariño (about $23) from Rias Baixas, in the north-west corner of Spain, has aromas and flavours of lemon pith, jasmine and green apple. The palate is vibrant with crisp acidity and a long, dry, mineral finish - the perfect accompaniment to the king prawn salad.

 

Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Kirsten Jenkins.