Post updated March 2016: new photographs added and recipe tweak
Juicy marinaded prawns in a coriander and sesame seed pastry make wonderful nibbles and they are very easy to make. They are excellent served hot or cold.
This was initially an idea for using up some raw prawns and some herbs and spices I had left over from thai curry the previous day. A little yoghurt or crème fraîche mixed with seasoning, a touch of lime juice and fresh coriander can be added to the tops of these if desired or used as a dip.
I use a miniature deep muffin tin for these canapés which does the trick perfectly and gives a nice depth of filling, but they can be made in mince pie tins.
About the pastry
While a standard shortcrust pastry works excellently, these are even more special made with a flavoured pastry: the coriander and sesame seeds complement the filling beautifully. As will most pastries, chilling the dough once it has been made for at least 30 minutes ensures that it will not break up when you roll it out.
I like there to be identifiable chunks of prawn in the filling so I chop them into smallish pieces before marinading them. However, you can simply pop everything in a blender and pulse for a few seconds or, if you want a paste, even longer.
The measurements for the marinated prawn mixture are just a guide; you can add more or less of whatever you fancy eg) more lime juice for extra sourness, chilli for extra heat, for example.
Although there are many ingredients, most of these are store cupboard/fridge staples and keep for ages. I tend to have many chillies that I keep frozen to use throughout the year as I need, sometimes taking one out and slicing off just a piece at a time!
You can instead use a good quality thai curry paste (green or red) which works well and is even quicker.
Recipe: Thai prawn pastry bites (makes about 24)
Coriander and sesame seed pastry
- 100g plain flour
- 25g unsalted butter, softened
- 25g lard
- about 1 tablespoon chopped coriander stalks
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- cold water to mix
- 200g raw prawns, peeled, de-veined and chopped small
- approx. 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- a little red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- zest of a lime
- spritz of lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar (caster, soft brown, demerara or, ideally, palm sugar)
- about 1 tablespoon fresh coriander (leaves and stalks), finely chopped
- 1 small egg, beaten
(1) Fry the shallot in a little vegetable oil for a few minutes until soft. Mix with the other ingredients for the prawn filling, apart from the egg. Leave to marinade for up to an hour or so.
(2) Make the pastry by mixing the flour, coriander, sesame seeds and seasoning together. Rub in the butter and lard until well incorporated. Add enough cold water to mix to a soft but not sticky dough. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for about 30 mins. Pre-heat oven to 160C (fan).
(3) Roll out the pastry thinly and cut out rounds to line deep, well greased miniature muffin tins. Alternatively, use shallow mince pie tins for mini quiche-style bites.
(4) Stir the egg into the marinated prawn mixture and spoon into the pastry cases, coming to just below the top of the pastry. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the filling has just set.
(5) Carefully remove from the tins and serve either warm or cool.
As an alternative to prawns, fresh white crab meat can be used.
Different spices can also be used: lemongrass works particuarly well either as lemongrass oil (one or two drop maximum!) or lemongrass paste.
I also use this prawn/crab mixture (without the egg) as a filling for miniature filo pastry parcels: just brush the parcels with a little beaten egg and sprinkle over some sesame seeds before baking.