Healthy and aromatic treats that you can prepare ahead of time
Not dissimilar to the Thai fishcakes we all know and love, but with handy lemongrass stalk handles. They are a wonderful treat for guests when they come out of the kitchen looking so pretty and smelling wonderful. The good news is that they are super healthy too! Simple to make, you can prepare the sauce and the pops a few hours ahead of time. Then just cook them in a non-stick pan and keep them warm just before your guests arrive. If you want a simpler recipe, you can just make them into patties instead of skewering.
Here's what you need
Makes 14-16 pops 750g raw prawns, peeled and deveined (peeled weight about 375g) 200g skinless, boneless white fish fillet 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and stems 2 fresh or 3-4 dried kaffir lime leaves, very finely shredded (optional) 2-3 teaspoons Thai Red Curry Paste (see page 174), depending on the strength used 2 teaspoons fish sauce 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet chilli sauce or 1/2 red chilli and 1 teaspoon clear honey, preferably raw 1 1/2 teaspoons cornflour Zest of 1 unwaxed lime 6 lemongrass stalks (for the handles), tough outer leaves discarded, and each stem cut into 3 2 teaspoons coconut or rapeseed oil, or spray oil
For the nuoc cham dipping sauce 1 garlic clove 1 large red chilli, roughly chopped (deseed for less heat) Juice of 1 lime 1 tablespoon fish sauce 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar 2 1/2 teaspoons clear honey or a sprinkling of stevia powder, to taste
How to make it
1. Roughly chop the prawns and fish, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Place in a food processor with the coriander, lime leaves (if using), curry paste, fish and chilli sauces, cornflour and lime zest. Carefully pulse until the mixture is finely chopped but not so much that it has turned to a paste. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill for 20 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, for the sauce, using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic and chilli together until crushed. Transfer to a small bowl and add the remaining sauce ingredients plus 2 tablespoons of cold water, and stir well to combine. 3. With damp hands, shape the fish mixture into 14-16 equal-sized balls and mould onto the lemongrass sticks to form round, but slightly flattened 'lollipops'. Transfer to an oiled plate, then chill, uncovered, for at least 1 hour or until you're ready to cook. 4. Brush or spray the pops with the oil and fry in a non-stick frying pan or cook over a medium heat on a griddle or barbecue for 6-8 minutes, carefully turning, until they are cooked through. Serve with the dipping sauce.