This was one of those spontaneous dinner ideas that came to me whilst wandering around the supermarket, and turned out to be a success! I was in the mood for prawns but too lazy to devein raw ones, so I bought some small cooked ones and feeling inspired by my trip to Vietnam in the Spring, I created little savoury egg pancakes by tossing small cooked prawns with lots of flavourful asian ingredients, eggs and ground almonds and frying them. (Sure they are not exactly authentic vietnamese but ‘Vietnamese-style prawns pancakes is too much of a mouthful so I’ll just call them vietnamese anyway!)
I was amazed at how much flavour these pancakes have and also how easy they are to make. They are satisfying but light and can be eaten as a starter, as part of a selection of asian dishes or just as a lunch or dinner. The avocado-lime smash is sort of like a guacamole but without the onions/tomatoes and adds another dimension to the dish, however as the prawn pancakes are so delicious on their own, you can skip the avocado if you prefer and just serve them with some lime juice. This is one of those dishes where the measurements are more of a rough guide and it’s more about feeling how much to add, depending how large your spring onions are/how hot your chillis are etc. or how spicy you like it/how much coriander you like…
I will warn you though; these aren’t like ordinary ‘pancakes’ as they have no flour so they are quite runny. They are more like little omelettes and take a little focus and skill to cook but I’ve given a few tips in the instructions and once you’ve made one you get the hang of it.
Vietnamese Prawns Pancakes with Avocado Lime Smash – Gluten, Grain, Dairy and Sugar Free
Serves 4 – 6 (makes about 12-15 pancakes)
For the prawn pancakes:
- 400g cooked small prawns, washed (I used small cooked north atlantic prawns from waitrose)
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 3 red chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 large handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
- zest of half a lime (about 1/4-1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 eggs + 4 egg whites
- 4 tbsp ground almonds
- sesame oil, to fry
For the avocado smash:
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/2 lime
- small handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
- Salad/ stir-fried or steamed greens…
- First prepare the pancakes. Place the prawns in a large bowl then add the spring onions, garlic, chilli, coriander, lime zest and turmeric then toss gently. Crack the eggs into a bowl then whisk well. Add the eggs and ground almonds to the prawns and mix well. Cover and place the pancake mixture into the fridge and leave to marinate and thicken for 30 minutes.
- While the pancake mixture is in the fridge, you can prepare some side salads/greens and the avocado smash. Halve and remove the stone from the avocados then scoop out the flesh and place in a large bowl with the juice of half a lime. Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado flesh then add the coriander leaves and stir. Set aside.
- After 30 minutes, remove the pancakes mixture from the fridge. Heat a large non-stick pan with a little sesame oil (about 1-2 tsp or more if you prefer a more crispy pancake). Using a large spatula, stir the pancake mixture well then drop small dollops onto the pan evenly spaced apart. Cook for minute or two or until brown and crisp then carefully flip over and cook the other side until no more egg runs out and both sides are browned*. Cook the pancakes in batches, adding more oil as you go along, and place on plates lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
- Serve the pancakes immediately with the avocado smash and some cooked greens/salad on the side.
* The smaller and flatter the pancakes, the easier to flip. Too big pancakes tend to fall apart. Try and get small spoonfuls of the pancake with even amounts of prawns/eggs/herbs and don’t make too big piles of prawns on the pan. These are messy runny eggy pancakes, so it don’t worry about how they look! As you are cooking them, press down a little with the spatula and, as the mixture is quite runny, some might run out so just fold those bits back onto the pancake. Don’t overcook them however, once both sides are browned and no more runny egg mixture runs out they are done.
With Love, Spice and Smile,