Fried Prawn Balls ( Luk Chin Gung - Tod )

prawn-balls-fried in sweet chillie sauce

I was looking for my prawn ball recipe when I realized I'd never made prawn balls for this site! One of the most traditional Thai recipes you see on the streets of Thailand, and I hadn't covered my recipe for them. Well obviously I need to fix that right away.
The white flavourless prawn balls you can buy in the supermarkets are largely padded with too much flour. It's better to make your own. I also like to add Shitake mushrooms to the mix too which helps the flavours. You'll find I've added some fatty pork mince, a common addition needed to give the ball some fatty flavours, you can also use pure pork fat.

prawn-ball-ingredients.jpg

To give the balls some spongy texture, and make them less firm, the trick of adding ice powder (shaved ice, fine ice crystals) just before cooking them will create holes in the meat balls. But you can skip this and go for a firmer texture prawn-ball if you prefer. Alternatively you can try to whisk air in with a hand-blender. I haven't gotten this to work so well, myself, but others recommend it.

Once they're made you can fry them and serve them with sweet chillie sauce like I've done in the photo above, or use them in noodles, or to accompany rice. You can make large batches of them, they last in the freezer for months and months.

Ingredients
10 Medium Shrimp
50 gms Fatty Pork Mince
1 White of Small Egg
3 Tablespoons All Purpose Wheat Flour
20 gms Dried Shitake Mushrooms
2 Ice Cubes, or Shaved Ice
Half Teaspoon Salt
Pinch of Pepper

prawn-balls-boiled.jpg

Preparation
1. Shell the shrimp and cut out the black thread gut by cutting along the back and pulling it out,.
2. Soak the shitake mushrooms in warm water for 15 minutes till they are softened. Drain and blend the mushrooms to a smooth paste.
3. Into a blender, place the shrimp, shitake paste, the egg white, flour, fatty pork mince, salt, and pepper and blend till smooth.
4. Place in a bowl in the fridge to chill and firm up.
5. The next section is time critical. You need to make shaved ice (fine powder ice), mix it into the mixture with a spoon, then drop spoonfuls of the mixture, with still frozen ice crystals in it, into boiling water to cook, and melt the ice.
6. This is how I do it at Appon's Thai Food: Firstly bring a pan of boiling water up to the boil ready for cooking. Then blend ice cubes to make your powder ice. Then mix in the powder ice into the shrimp mixture with a spoon. Spoon out the ice, leaving any melt-water behind, you only want the ice crystals, water will dilute the mixture. Finally using two teaspoons, spoon the mixture into small balls and drop each ball into the boiling water to cook.
7. They need only a couple of minutes to cook. Once cooked like this they can be used in noodles, or as an ingredient, or stored frozen.
8. You can also do what I did for the main photograph, simply put them on sticks, and shallow fry them, turning a few times, until golden on all sides and eat them with sweet chillie sauce.

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