Our version of the takeaway classic... a homemade sweet 'n' sour sauce made using a few authentic ingredients, crispy battered prawns and egg-fried rice.
Boil the rice in salted boiling water for 10 minutes until just cooked. Drain, allow to drip dry, then scatter onto a large baking tray in a thin layer to cool and dry out. Store, covered, in the fridge until you need it. It’s even better if you can make this several hours or even a day ahead.
Peel and grate the garlic and ginger for the sauce into a saucepan. Pour the pineapple juice into the same pan along with the sugar (you’ll need to smash it up if it’s rock sugar), vinegar, soy, ketchup and cornflour, dissolved in 100ml of cold water, then whisk to combine. Heat to a simmer for a few minutes so that it thickens.
Mix all the dry ingredients for the batter in a bowl, then slowly whisk in the water and oil until you have a smooth batter. Fill a fryer with vegetable oil and heat to 180°C. Preheat an oven to 120°C.
Prepare all the veg for the stir-fry… the red onion needs peeling and slicing, the peppers need deseeding and slicing and the water chestnuts need draining and slicing.
Pat the prawns dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dip them into the batter then lower into the oil to fry for 1½-2 minutes until golden. Scoop the prawn balls out and drain on kitchen paper before laying on a wire rack and keeping warm in an oven at 120°C.
Heat a wok or large saucepan with some vegetable oil to very hot then add the beaten egg. Keep stirring, then once the egg is cooked add the peas and sliced spring onions. Tip in the cooked rice and heat, stirring regularly until it’s all piping hot. Dribble in the soy sauce along with the Chinese 5-spice. Mix to combine everything and transfer to a serving bowl.
In a large saucepan heat a couple of tablespoons of oil to a very high heat, then rapidly stir-fry all the prepared veg for 2 minutes. Add a little of the sweet and sour sauce to bind them all, stir well and leave to bubble.
Serve the battered prawns balls piled high with a separate dish of the rice and another bowl of the sweet and sour veg… keeping the excess sweet and sour sauce in a dipping bowl on the side. Tuck in! Serves 4