The besan flour (chickpea flour) coating gives these prawns a crisp nuttiness; it's available from health-food shops and Indian grocers.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 Spanish onions, cut into thick wedges
- 1½ baby fennel bulbs, cut into thick wedges
- ¼ tsp saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp hot water for 30 minutes
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 380 gm vine-ripened tomatoes (about 4), quartered
- 1 tbsp currants
- For deep-frying: vegetable oil
- 200 gm besan flour
- 1 tbsp each cumin seeds and coriander seeds
- 1 kg uncooked prawns, peeled, tails intact, deveined
- 1 cup (loosely packed) each coriander and flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve
- 1Heat olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan over medium heat, add onion and turn occasionally until just beginning to soften (8-10 minutes). Add fennel and turn occasionally until golden brown (7-8 minutes), then add saffron and soaking water, vinegar and honey, gently place in tomatoes and scatter with currants. Cover with lid, reduce heat to low and simmer until fennel is tender (15-20 minutes).
- 2Meanwhile, preheat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 180C. Combine besan flour and spices in a bowl and season to taste. Dust prawns in flour mixture, shake to remove excess and deep-fry in batches until golden (1-2 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper, season to taste and keep warm.
- 3To serve, spoon saffron-braised vegetables into serving bowls, scatter with herbs and top with fried prawns.
Drink Suggestion: Heady perfumed viognier. Drink suggestion by Max Allen