Back in 2012, I was one of the 6.5 million viewers who watched the tantalising Shelina Permalloo emerge as winner of that year’s MasterChef. Reflecting the diverse culinary influences — Creole, French, Indian, African, British and Chinese — of her home country, Permalloo’s instinctive home cooking was an inspiration to watch and learn from. And there’s nothing to whet your appetite more for a place than seeing its scrumptious cuisine served up with that impressive professional finesse.
It’s Shelina Permalloo’s delectable new cookbook, Sunshine on a Plate, that prompted me to share a recipe inspired by the food of Mauritius. This dish is simple, quick and delicious; a truly divine combination of features. The following recipe serves 4, so feel free to adjust it according to the number you’re catering for.
32 jumbo king prawns
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Mauritius massalé spice blend
1 tsp crushed pink peppercorns
1 litre sunflower oil
A couple of sprigs of fresh coriander
Dodo chilli dipping sauce
Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and water into a bowl and mix until combined into a smooth batter.
Cover the king prawns in the batter, then place a deep frying pan on a high heat and add the sunflower oil.
When the oil is as hot as possible, add the prawns in batches and cook for a couple of minutes on each side until crispy and golden.
Drain the prawns on kitchen roll to remove any excess oil.
Garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander and serve alongside the dipping sauce.