THIS prawn appetiser is ideal finger food for gatherings, small or large. Pass it around while watching Singapore’s National Day celebrations at home during the long weekend. This heritage dish – hae cho – is traditonally eaten during the Chinese New Year among the Hokkien and Teochew dialect communities. This version gets a generous coating of beaten egg and cream cracker crumb and then fried to a crisp. Finger-licking good!
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves: 10-15 persons
A: Prawn & Meat Filling
500g small prawns, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped
400g minced pork
500g water chestnuts, peeled & roughly chopped
½ carrot, coarsely grated
4 cloves garlic, peeled & roughly chopped
5 shallots, peeled & roughly chopped
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
3-4 Chinese dried mushrooms soaked & finely chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
C: Cornstarch Paste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2-3 teaspoons water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
6 pieces cream crackers, grind to a powder
E: Beancurd Sheets
2 large sheets dried beancurd skin, each cut into 12 squares
500ml vegetable oil for deep-frying
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine pork and minced prawns together. Pour in seasoning.
Add remaining A ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.
2. Allow mixture to marinate for a few hours in the fridge. Alternatively, it can be chilled overnight for flavours to meld and develop.
3. Using damp, clean cloth, lightly rub beancurd sheets to soften them. This is also to remove the thin layer of salt on the surface of the sheets. Fold it into 20cm squares; it will yield 12 pieces per sheet.
4. Scoop 4 tablespoons of filling on lower third of each beancurd square. To make sure filling is compact as you roll, press meat filling together. Roll up to cover filling; then fold right and left side inwards.
Roll it up to form a log; use cornstarch paste to dab along the edge of the sheet to seal it up. Complete rolling until filling is used up. Put rolls, seam side facing downwards onto a large oiled enamel or stainless steel plate. Steam them in a single layer.
5. Bring 2 litres water to a rolling boil in a wok over medium high heat. Put in a steaming rack. Place plate of prawn rolls on top of rack.
6. Steam for 15 minutes. Allow rolls to cool completely. Alternatively, steamed rolls can be chilled overnight and frying done the next day. Cut into 4cm pieces.
7. Using a pair of chopsticks, dip pieces into beaten egg to coat them evenly. Next, roll them in ground cream cracker. Deep-fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Serve immediately.
TIP: Freeze steamed rolls for up to a month. Remove from freezer; cut them up into discs. Deep-fry until golden brown.
TECHNIQUE: For a toothsome bite, ingredients should be roughly chopped and not minced.
Photos: Evonne Lyn Lee
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