Crispy, crunchy, succulent prawns tossed lightly in a creamy, tangy sauce riddled with poppin' finger lime caviar and a soft kick of spicy heat.
After reading an article and seeing some intriguing photos about them, some 2 years, 4 months and 3 days ago I now have some rare, exotic finger limes of my very own to cook with. Oh mama!
Finger limes were originally discovered growing wild in the lowland, subtropical, rainforest areas of coastal Australia. Gourmet bushfood.
These unassuming, drab, pebbled skin, elongated citrus hold a secret stash of gleaming little pearls, or vesticles of juicy flavour that tumble out of the finger lime when cut. "Squeeze me please", and even more tiny bubbles of juicy goodness spill out. These globular little treasures literally pop in your mouth with a sparkling, tangy burst.
You can use finger limes in any place that you would use lime or lemon, but they do beg to share centre stage. I mean after all......
When my stars aligned and I finally had finger limes lazing on my kitchen counter, my first thoughts were along the lines of, maybe, pan seared scallops, draped in a lime-pearl studded remoulade, or fat chunkers of fresh, white halibut, sauteed in browned butter and served with a crown of shiny green lime bubbles.
Then he gave me that look.
Dagnabbit!! Once again I fell prey to Forest Grump's if-its-fish-or-seafood-please-I-beg-of-you-Judi-to-fry-it look. You know how a puppy looks up at you with those big eyes all filled with love. Yup, that's the look of love Forest Grump has for deep-fried sea things.
So, what's a girl to do?
I'll tell you exactly what.
I used quite hefty 16/20 count prawns, quickly fried in a very light egg batter and then gingerly tossed in a yogurt based sauce with Thai sweet chili sauce, sriracha and of course, oodles of finger lime caviar.
We had our Pop Pop Prawns as a main course with coconut sticky rice and roasted fresh asparagus, but oh yeah baby, these would make great appies too.
Now, of course, you can make these prawns without the elusive finger limes, by substituting a good wallop of fresh squeezed lime juice in the sauce.
Everything will still be yummy, but will leave you dreaming of the seductive, juicy burst of a finger lime pearl between your teeth.
POP POP PRAWNS - 3-4 main course servings
1/2 cup good quality, plain, thick, Greek or Balkan yogurt (or you could sub mayo)
1/4 cup Thai sweet chile sauce
2 tablespoons sriracha (or less, if you don't want this much of a kick of heat)
2 finger limes, cut and squeezed
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk, can milk or cream
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh 16/20 prawns, peeled and deveined
Oil for frying
1 finger lime, cut and squeezed, for garnish
Combine all ingredients for sauce, in a medium-large bowl. Set aside.
Combine beaten egg and milk in a medium bowl; set aside.
Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, garlic and onion powder and black pepper in a shallow bowl; set aside.
Plop the prawns into the egg mixture to coat evenly. Dip the prawns into the spiced flour mixture to coat evenly.
Heat oil in deep fryer, wok or skillet for deep frying, to approximately 350F. When oil is hot, fry prawns about 2-3 minutes until enticingly golden brown and just cooked through. Drain on paper towels or newspaper. When all prawns have been fried, plop them into the bowl with the sauce and toss lightly.
Serve immediately, capped with more finger lime caviar and any extra sauce. Pop, pop!