When I was growing up, eating out meant dining in a Chinese or Filipino restaurant. Western food such as burgers and pizza weren’t unknown but the famous franchises haven’t reached the Philippines then. In the pre-fastfood days, dining out was a very different experience. Memories of being a child, all dressed up for a dinner out with the whole family comes to mind and brings a smile to my face. There were no self-service restaurants. Being served well, even in ordinary restaurants, is part of the dining out package.
In those days, Chinese restaurants in the Philippines had Spanish menus. Strange as it sounds, there is a very logical explanation. The Philippines was occupied by Spain for a very long time and a lot of people spoke Spanish in those days. This dish is in every Chinese restaurant’s menu and is one of my family’s favourites.
Camaron rebosado is simply prawns in batter. It is similar to tempura but the batter is fluffier. The batter tends to soften as it cools. I used egg whites instead of whole eggs and fried them twice to retain its crispness longer. The end result was as I remembered it to be, but crispier.
- 1/2 kg. raw prawns, shelled and deveined
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1/4 c. corn flour
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 c. plain flour
- 1/4 c. corn flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. ice cold water
- cooking oil
- INGREDIENTS FOR THE SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/4 c. white wine, cider or rice vinegar
- 2 tbsps. light soy sauce
- 2 tbsps. catsup
- 2 tsps. corn flour dispersed in 2 tbsps. water
- Make two slits on the inner curve of the prawns to prevent it from curling too much when frying. Season with light soy sauce and sesame oil and leave for 15 minutes.
- Pat dry and coat lightly with 1/4 c. of corn flour.
- Prepare the batter. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl. Add the ice cold water, then the flour and the rest of the corn flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 2 tbsps. of cooking oil. Mix just until blended.
- Heat up enough oil to deep fry the prawns. When hot, dip each prawn briefly in batter and fry a few at a time. Fry on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until light brown.
- Transfer on kitchen paper lined trays and leave to cool. When cooled, re-heat the cooking oil and re-fry the prawns for 1 minute or until crispy and golden brown.
- Make the sweet and sour sauce. Caramelize the sugar until medium brown.
- You may omit this step by using light brown sugar but the caramel gives a nicer flavour to the sauce.
- Add water and stir until the caramel is dissolved.
- Add the vinegar, soy sauce and catsup. Bring to a boil.
- Thicken with the corn flour slurry.
- Serve the camaron rebosado with the sweet and sour dipping sauce.
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