The dish that made a Singapore chef famous

Posted at 06/09/2011 2:10 PM | Updated as of 06/10/2011 11:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Here's a dish that is so powerful it gave a Singapore chef a career, a wife and an opportunity to travel the world.

Well, at least that's what Sam Leong, the city-state's very own celebrity chef, claimed when he held a cooking demo at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel earlier this month.

Celebrity chef Sam Leong

"I bring this dish wherever I go," he said.

Leong was referring to his wasabi prawns, a dish that required few ingredients and only took him 10 minutes to prepare. It was so easy to do, one would wonder how it promoted someone to master chef status.

The answer was revealed shortly after. True enough, the dish was simple but amazing -- the prawns were delicately coated in a batter that is both crunchy and hard, reminiscent of peanuts. The sauce, made from mayonnaise, condensed milk, wasabi paste and lemon juice, gave just the right amount of sweetness and spice.

It was effortlessly beautiful, like magic -- or perhaps kung fu, as others would say. No wonder it is very close to Leong's heart even if he has created tens of thousands of modern Chinese dishes. 

"Wasabi prawns made me famous, gave me my wife, and made me travel the world," the chef said proudly.

Now, Filipinos can make this dish in their own homes as Leong showed how it's done.

The recipe

Leong began making the sauce by mixing mayonnaise, condensed milk, wasabi paste and fresh lemon juice in a small bowl.

He also prepared a mango salsa (which contains diced mango, chopped mint leaves and Thai chili sauce) to accompany the prawns. The chef said it's best to keep the sauce and the salsa in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the dish.

The prawns were marinated in salt, sugar, sesame oil and an egg white before coating them with corn flour. Leong then deep-fried these in very hot oil for about a minute, and mixed them with the sauce.

"The corn flour needs to be hard because we will coat it with sauce, which can make it soggy. Unlike the tempura batter which is crispy, this has to be really hard after frying," he explained.

"The oil has to be very, very hot so the corn flour will be sealed."

Leong placed the wasabi prawns in a round bowl and garnished these with the salsa and some chervil leaves. "Serve it immediately," he said.

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