Fritters That Will Make You Laugh Like A Happy Shrimp! 喜虾大笑!

Chinese, particularly the Cantonese chefs/restauranteurs, loves a good pun when it comes to naming their dishes especially on festive occasions. Anything that screams “Prosperity” will sell like hotcakes during the Chinese New Year (CNY) period!

大笑 means having a hearty laugh and on a Cantonese cuisine menu during Chinese New Year period, prawn dishes are often given the captivating name 喜大笑 where “虾” (pronounced as “ha” in Cantonese dialect, meaning shrimp/prawn) is a *homophone for “哈” (also pronounced as “ha” in Cantonese but to mean laugh/laughter). Thus, the very act of consuming an auspiciously named dish such as 喜虾大笑 (Hei Ha Dai Siu) during the CNY period is a gesture of hope, inviting good **tidings into one’s life.

*Homophone: words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling.
**Tidings: an old-fashioned word for “recent news”. Good tidings means good news, like newborns, promotions and higher net worth!

We didn’t had a chance to visit any Cantonese restaurants this CNY as Taeyang was delivered 10 days earlier than expected. Still, we are very grateful to be in confinement (no pun intended)! Since we cannot go for the “虾” (shrimp), the “哈” (laughter) must come to us – I dished out our very own “哈虾” (Haha or Happy Shrimp) at home!

Here’s What You’ll Need:
1kg big Prawns
Oil enough for deep frying

Seasoning for Prawns:
1 teaspoon Salt.
½ teaspoon Sugar.
A few dashes of White Pepper Powder.
1 tablespoon Cornflour.
1 Egg White (reserve yolk for batter).
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil.
2 teaspoons Oil (I used Peanut/Groundnut Oil).

Batter:
1 cup *Self-raising Flour.
6 tablespoons Rice Flour.
2 teaspoons Salt.
1 teaspoon Sugar.
A few dashes of White Pepper Powder.
1 Egg Yolk.
100 – 150ml Water (beer, or half and half).
2 tablespoons Oil.

You can use this batter for most seafood i.e. fish, scallops, squid etc..etc… Rice Flour gives the fried batter a nice crunch. If using beer instead of water, omit baking soda when making your own SRF (recipe below).

*How To Make Your Own Self-Raising Flour (SRF): (Nigella Lawson’s Recipe)
Just add 2 teaspoons of baking powder for each 150g/6oz/1 cup plain flour. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl before using, to make sure the baking powder is thoroughly distributed (or you can put both ingredients into a bowl and whisk them together).

If you are baking with cocoa, yogurt or buttermilk then add ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) as well as the baking powder as generally these ingredients need a little extra leavening boost.

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I used this SRF recipe for my prawn fritters that day:
1 cup Plain Flour (150g).
2 teaspoons Baking Powder.
¼ teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda), optional.

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Heat up enough oil for deep-frying.
Hold prawn by the tail and dip into the batter to coat.
Gently place coated prawns into the hot oil and deep-fry till golden.

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Deep-fry for about 3 minutes or puffed and golden.
Dish up and transfer to a lined perforated basket to drain off excess oil.

Method:
1. Peel shells off the prawns but leave the last section and the tail on. Make a small slit on back of prawns to remove the dark ribbon-like “sand vein”. Rinse prawns and pat dry.

2. Season prawns and leave in fridge to marinate for half an hour.

3. Put batter ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Slowly add in the water and whisk gently to obtain a medium-thick smooth batter. Add in the 2 tablespoons oil and stir to combine. Keep chilled until needed and remove from fridge half an hour before using.

4. Heat up enough oil for deep-frying. Hold prawn by the tail, dip into the batter to coat, and deep-fry until golden brown about 3 minutes. Dish up and drain well on paper kitchen towels before serving.

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Dishing up our “哈虾” (Haha… Happy Shrimps)!

Happy cooking, eating and bonding! 🙂

Huat ah! 发啊!

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