Sweet, savoury and crunchy

Neil Perry
Panko breadcrumbs lend these prawns a really great crunch
Panko breadcrumbs lend these prawns a really great crunch Photo: William Meppem

You can use ordinary breadcrumbs for the prawns, but the panko variety have a really great crunch.

A little finely sliced pickled ginger is also great through the honey soy sauce.

Sesame prawn cutlets with honey soy sauce

12 medium green (uncooked) king prawns, peeled
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
3 tbsp sesame seeds
sea salt
1 cup plain flour
5 eggs, lightly whisked
vegetable oil, for deep frying

Honey soy sauce
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
small knob fresh ginger, peeled, finely grated
1/2 long red chilli, seeds removed, finely diced
3 tsp fresh lime juice

Serves 4

To make the sauce, combine water, honey, soy sauce, ginger and chilli in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, or until sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat, and stir in the lime juice. Check seasoning.

Use a small sharp knife to cut a slit along the back of each prawn (don't cut all the way). Use your fingers to gently open each prawn to sit flat. Keep tail intact.

Combine panko crumbs and sesame seeds in a bowl, and season to taste with salt.  Place flour and eggs in separate bowls. Dip a few prawns at a time in flour until well coated, shaking off any excess, then in egg and then in the panko mixture, pressing firmly to coat.

Place in a single layer on a plate.

Add enough oil to a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2cm. Heat over medium heat. Cook the prawns in batches without crowding the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until just cooked through and golden. Drain on a paper towel.

Repeat with remaining prawns. If necessary, add some extra oil to the frying pan, and bring back up to temperature before cooking the remaining prawns.


Serve the prawns on a platter with the honey soy sauce on the side.


Egg noodle salad with barbecue duck and hoisin dressing

500g fresh thick egg noodles
vegetable oil, for tossing
4 spring onions, cut into juliennes
2 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed, cut into juliennes
1 cup bean sprouts, tails trimmed
1 bunch enoki mushrooms, bases trimmed, separated
1 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup garlic chives, cut to 1cm lengths
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
200g shredded duck meat, with skin on

Hoisin dressing
1/4 cup black vinegar
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil

Serves 4

For the sauce, combine all ingredients and mix well. Check the balance is right.

Soak the noodles in boiling water until al dente. Drain and refresh in cold water and drain again. Toss with a little vegetable oil.

Combine noodles with all the vegetables and herbs, sesame seeds, duck meat and dressing. Toss to combine.
To serve, simply divide between four bowls.


Poached chicken wings can be fried till crisp and served with the honey soy sauce, as can crumbed and fried chicken breast strips.

Roast chicken and prawns are also good in the egg noodle salad. You can really use whatever you have available; I've even successfully replaced the noodles with spaghetti.

Something to drink
Pinot noir and duck have long been bedfellows. The trick here is to not clash with the hoisin sauce, which is rich, sweet and powerful. To build a platform for this dish to sit upon, try a 2011 Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir ($29) from Martinborough, NZ.  

Photos: William Meppem Styling: Hannah Meppem.