Clarence River school prawns with cumin salt and harissa


  • Serves 6 people

  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
  • 150 gm cornflour
  • 40 gm smoked sweet Spanish paprika
  • 400 gm green school prawns, such as Clarence River, cleaned, tails intact
  • To serve: lime wedges
  • Harissa
  • 1 large red capsicum
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp each cumin and caraway seeds
  • ½ tbsp fennel seeds
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 50 gm tomato paste
  • ½ tsp smoked sweet Spanish paprika
  • 25 ml sherry vinegar
  • ½ bunch each coriander and basil, coarsely chopped
  • Cumin salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
01   For harissa, preheat oven to 160C. Heat a char-grill on high heat and char-grill capsicum, turning occasionally until skin blisters and blackens (10-15 minutes). Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, set aside to cool, then peel (discard seeds). Transfer to an oven tray, add tomato and roast until tender (40-45 minutes). When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop and set aside. Cook spices in a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant (3-5 minutes), then pound with a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add onion, garlic and chillies and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft (10-15 minutes). Add capsicum, roast tomato and tomato paste to pan, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have broken down (35-40 minutes). Add ground spices, paprika and vinegar, season to taste and set aside to cool. Transfer to a food processor, add herbs and process until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve into serving bowl. Makes about 375ml.
02   Meanwhile, for cumin salt, cook spices in a small frying pan over medium heat until golden and fragrant (3-5 minutes). Transfer half into a mortar and grind with a pestle to a fine powder, then add remaining spices and coarsely grind. Transfer back to frying pan, add sea salt and cook until lightly toasted (2-3 minutes).
03   Heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180C. Sift cornflour into a bowl, add paprika and season to taste. Toss prawns in flour mixture, shaking off excess, then deep-fry in batches until golden and crisp (1-2 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper and season with cumin salt. Serve prawns with harissa, extra cumin salt and lime wedges.







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