Prawn Cakes (Simple But Tasty)

This is such a simple dish to make and somehow it is something I only make for special occasions – always Christmas Eve and Good Friday and if requested for a birthday. But they are so good and could not be simpler – chop – mix – cook – eat.
I need to have a word with myself.
You can make these really spicy but I like the balance of the prawn with the spicy seasoning and the citrus. The frying smoothes out the flavours so I would definitely NOT serve these with any sort of Mayonnaise or creamy/ dairy type dressing (not even yogurt, there you go I said it). But do try the lime and mint and at a push I would have the Sweet & Hot Chilli Dipping Sauce.
And it is a finger food, children love them (take out the alcohol completely if you must and add a little water instead, but the alcohol is there as part of the delightful orchestra of flavours as opposed to blow your head off kick).
Both my girls love a citrus rush on their food and when they were small would even try to eat lemons and limes like a tangerine (I would only allow a little of this as it made MY mouth hurt to watch).
I have given a smaller quantity to the amount I make (I make double the amount) so if yours doesn’t look exactly like the quantities in the pictures then that is why so don’t worry – like I said I make these for when we have people over and this time was no different ….. they loved them, so will you 😀
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Prawn Cakes (Simple But Tasty)
400g/14 oz Raw king prawns
140 g/5 oz Self Raising flour
1 sweet white onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp parsley leaves
1 tsp coriander leaves
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 lemon zested and juiced
(1/2 tsp Harissa or red chilli flakes but I prefer the subtlety and complexity of the Harrisa)
50ml/2floz Vermouth/ Chinese Rice wine
1 tbsp Nam plaa
6 shakes Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp sea salt
Sunflower oil for frying

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Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.
Either chop the onion and garlic just so it will go into a food processor.
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Add the prawns and blitz for about 20 seconds until finely chopped. (That should be plenty of time, remember you don’t want to introduce any heat from over working the raw fish)
If you have no food processor, just chop the prawns, onions and garlic with as large a knife as you have (1 st French Cooks) on a clean surface (preferably a chopping board) until it is very small.
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Tip this mixture into the flour filled mixing bowl. Add all the other ingredients.
Give it all a good mix, a spoon should do the job.
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You now have a choice to fry or bake them, I much prefer them fried, they taste better and have a nicer texture too.

Get a heavy based frying pan (if you have it a small one will do, just be careful to hold the handle as you add and turn and remove the cakes). Add in about 1cm / 1/2” depth of the oil and heat over a medium heat.
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Use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon and add the cakes to the hot oil.
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Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden.
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Lift onto some kitchen paper to mop up the excess oil for a few minutes as you finish the batter off.
If you prefer you can, at this point bake the cakes, in which case you spray a baking tray with oil, add the scoops/spoonfuls of batter.
Spray over the top of the cakes and bake at 350˚F / 180˚C/ Gas 4 for about 15 minutes (just depends on how thick you make them) Just test by breaking one in two, it should look moist and a pinky-grey colour.

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I like these with some fresh mint chopped and a piece of lime squeezed over them, but you can also have them with lemon and some fresh basil with a nice pile of shredded lettuce and some flat bread.

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Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.
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