A prawn nestled in a basket of golden sweet potato strips and then deep fried until crispy. It is traditionally served with fresh lettuce, herbs and a traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce called nuoc mam cham.
If using dried shrimp, wash them thoroughly in warm water and then soak in a bowl with 1.5 cups of boiling water for 20 minutes.
Prep all vegetables and make nuoc mam dipping sauce. Skip making the dipping sauce if you prefer to have it on its own.
After 20 minutes, remove the soaking shrimp from the bowl with a spoon and save the water. After all the shrimp is removed let the water settle so that any impurities will sink to the bottom. Carefully pour the shrimp water into the measuring cup leaving the impurities behind in the bowl.
Pound the soaked shrimp in a mortar and pestle or blitz for 10 seconds in a small blender until it is a mince.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients, shrimp mince and the reserved shrimp water. Combine well. (Note 1)
Add the sweet potato strips and onions to the mixing bowl and gently stir. Leave aside.
Prepare the prawns to your liking. We leave the prawn whole with the shell and head on. (Note 2).
Fill a deep pan on medium heat with 3-4 cm of vegetable oil. If you have a cooking thermometer, bring the oil temperature to roughly 175°C (347°F).
Before making a fritter, stir the mixture. With tongs, place the fritter mixture on a spatula or a big spoon and flatten it out.
Coat one side of the prawn in the batter and place it on top of the fritter.
Slide the fritter off the spatula / spoon and into the oil. I recommend frying no more than 2 -3 fritters at a time, so the oil temperature does not drop too low. (Note 3)
Cook each fritter for 2 mins on each side, or until golden and crisp (Note 4).
Remove the fritter and drain on a cooling rack. Do not let them cool on top or too close to each other to maintain crispiness.