These Shrimp Fritters are crispy, crunchy and beautifully seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic and spices. They make wonderful appetizers served with tomato sauce or a mayo dip. You could serve these on toothpicks too for parties. Once marinated and refrigerated, these are as quick and as scrummy as any of the store bought ready-to-fry packs. The only sore part is the cleaning, which I see as a sort of meditative time when you can think, plan and ponder a whole lot of things. While you shell and devein the prawns mechanically, your mind is free to plan the coming week’s menu, make shopping lists, choose what new necklines you’d like to try for your blouses and salwars (Sneha’s sleeve in that song, trisha’s neckline in that ad.. the tailor will anyway deliver something totally different like they always do for me), plan appointments/excuses, rehearse leave requests or sing out aloud. This is my kind of “me-time” – busy in the kitchen with my own thoughts with of course, frequent ad-breaks where my kids feature their talents.
Now experience cooks may do it faster. But it took me around 20 minutes because I am a fresher with seafood. I am going to describe as best as I can how to clean shrimp/prawns for the benefit of other beginners like me. It’s quite gory like Vishwaroopam fight scenes, so delicate faint-hearted people, jump over to the recipe. For others, hold the shrimp in your left hand, rip off the head with your right hand, pluck out the tiny tentacle like things from the body, peel away the plastic like shell and then pinch the tail portion and pull gently to remove the tail. Now you’re left with the “C” shaped shrimp that is thicker at the top and tapers downwards. At the top convex edge of the “C”, use your fingers to open up the flesh and you’ll find the thin thread like structure (vein) which you can gently pull out. Don’t hold the shrimp too tight or you’ll not be able to pull out the entire vein. The discarded parts of the shrimp make great manure you can use in your garden. As is the water you use to rinse the shrimp. So don’t throw these away.
Preparation time: 20 mins
Marinating time: 1 hr to 1 day
Cooking time: 5 mins
Shrimp/Prawns – about 1/4 kilo cleaned and deveined
Oil – about 1/2 cup for frying
Curd/Yogurt – 1/4 cup
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Ginger – 1 inch piece peeled
Garlic – 4-5 cloves
Black Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Rice flour – 2 tbsp
Gram flour/Kadalai Maavu/Besan – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
1. Clean and devein prawns, remove the head and tail. Rinse in 2 changes of water. Drain water, pat dry and set aside.
2. Grind together ginger and garlic to a fine paste.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients under marinade. Taste and adjust seasoning. Dump the prawns/shrimp in the marinade and toss well to coat. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight.
4. Heat oil in a skillet/kadai till hot. When hot, drop in the marinated prawns and deep fry for 1-2 minutes till curled and golden brown. Remove onto absorbent paper. Serve hot as a starter with tomato sauce or a mayonnaise based dip.
1. Feel free to experiment with corn-flour instead of rice flour. I try different combinations of these flours (rice, corn, gram) for dredging the fritters each time depending on what’s available.
2. To make them crispier with a nice crunchy exterior, omit the flours from the marinade. Marinate with the rest of the ingredients. Then dip the prawns one at a time in a thin maida (all-purpose flour) batter before rolling them in bread crumbs. Refrigerate these bread crumb coated prawns in a single layer in an air-tight box until frying time. Refrigerating them reduces splitting during frying.