Winter Prawns or Shrimps

This unusual Chinese dish is ideal to serve as part of a Chinese meal. Or serve it as unusual and exotic first course for a dinner party.

4-6 SERVINGS

10 egg whites

2 teaspoons cornflour

½ teaspoon salt

6 oz. prawns or shrimps, weighed after shelling sufficient vegetable oil for deep-frying

½ teaspoon rnonosodium glutamate (optional)

2 oz. cooked chicken, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg white, the cornflour and salt with a wooden spoon until they form a smooth paste.

Place the prawns or shrimps in the paste and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the prawns or shrimps are coated with the paste.

Fill a deep-frying pan one-third full with the vegetable oil. Heat the oil until it reaches 360°F on a deep-fat thermometer or until a small cube of stale bread dropped into the oil turns golden-brown in 50 seconds. Place the prawns or shrimps in a wire basket, lower the basket into the oil, and fry for 1 minute. Drain the prawns or shrimps on kitchen paper towels and set them aside.

In a large mixing bowl, using a wire whisk, beat the remaining egg whites with the monosodium glutamate, if you are using it, until they form stiff’ peaks.

Pile half the egg whites on a dish. Lay the prawns or shrimps evenly over the egg whites and, using a spatula, spread the remaining egg whites over them.

Tilt the dish over the pan containing the hot oil and slide the egg and prawn or shrimp mixture into the oil. Fry the mixture for 3 minutes, basting the top with oil if it is not fully covered. Remove the pan from the heat. Using a fish slice, carefully lift out the mixture from the pan and drain on kitchen paper towels.

Sprinkle the top with the chicken and chives and serve immediately.

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