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Honey Prawns – stays crispy!

Honey Prawns – stays crispy!

Honey Prawns that stay crispy for hours!

Honey Prawns are a much-loved favourite at suburban Chinese restaurants and takeaway joints across Australia. Plump, snappy prawns are battered and fried until crisp, then tossed in a sweet and sticky honey sauce – those words alone will have anybody drooling!

As irresistible as they are, for me Honey Prawns at most restaurants suffer one glaring defect: they don’t stay crispy for long! Once the honey sauce hits that crispy exterior, it’s an express ride to Soggy Town!

The simplest answer to this problem is of course to gobble fresh Honey Prawns down as soon as they hit the table. I heartily endorse this solution. 😂 But that aside … can we do better?

Yes we can! 🙂 Thanks to a trio of little tricks I employ, these Honey Prawns will stay crisp for not just a few minutes … or even hours …. or overnight … but you can even reheat them the next day to near freshly-cooked, crispy perfection!

Sound too good to be true? Read on and become a believer in the miracle of Stay-Crispy Honey Prawns!

Pouring honey sauce over Honey Prawns

 

Close up showing inside of Honey Prawns

What you need to make Honey Prawns

Here’s what you need to make these Honey Prawns that stay crispy for hours!

1. PRAWNS AND HONEY SAUCE

Ingredients for Honey Prawns

PRAWNS/SHRIMP

Fresh raw prawns are best if you can, medium to medium-large size. The ones pictured are 33g whole or 17g peeled, to be exact!

However these days, frozen prawns are actually also pretty good. Get large frozen peeled prawns, thaw them and pat them dry very well. Frozen prawns tend to be quite watery when they defrost which will compromise the crispiness!

HONEY SAUCE

  • Honey – The primary flavour here. Yes, this sauce is sweet!
  • Glucose syrup – This is a very thick, clear syrup that comes in jars, usually found in the baking aisle of supermarkets. This is a little trick for making a thick honey sauce that coats the surface of the crispy coating without soaking in much and making it soggy. Substitute with clear corn syrup – this works just as well.
  • Chinese cooking wine – A commonly used ingredient in Chinese cooking to add depth of flavour into sauces as well as a little salt. Without it, the honey sauce tastes a bit flat, like it’s missing “something”. Substitute with mirin or if you can’t consume alcohol, low-sodium chicken stock/broth.
  • Soy sauce – For some flavour and seasoning.

No water added! – Most Honey Prawn sauce recipes include water and cornflour/cornstarch for thickening. Crispy batters and water are not friends! Give the water a miss.


2. MIRACLE STAY-CRISPY FRY BATTER

And here’s what you need for the miracle stay-crispy fry batter. I’m just going to cover the basics about each ingredient in this section. If you are interested in more about the why, have a read of the Honey Chicken post when I first introduced this fry batter!

Ingredients for Honey Prawns
  • COLD soda water, club soda or seltzer water – NOT sparkling mineral water which is naturally carbonated. We want something that has man-made bubbles in it because it is fizzier, and the fizz helps with the puffing of the batter. Meanwhile cold liquid is key for an ultra-crispy result. The shock of the cold batter hitting the hot oil = super-crispy batter, virtually immediately.
  • Cornflour/cornstarch – Wheat flour (ie. plain flour / all-purpose flour) contains gluten which causes crispy batters to soften. Cornflour is gluten-free, so using this type of flour in the batter is key for crispiness. We use mostly cornflour in this batter.
  • Plain flour / all-purpose flour – So why not just use all cornflour? If you do the batter becomes like a thick glue that’s not workable. Also because cornflour does not brown properly when fried, and stays pale. We want a nice golden colour for Honey Prawns! Thus some wheat flour helps here. We also need some to activate the baking powder to make this crispy coating puffy (baking powder doesn’t work on cornflour).
  • Baking powder – A key ingredient to give the batter some lift so it’s puffy, rather than a thin coating that’s fully adhered to the prawn like in Sweet & Sour Pork.

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