Thai-Mexican Fusion:

Seasoned King Prawns with Coconut Brown Rice, Red Pepper Salsa, Guacamole and Sweet Potato Spears, all Served in a Lettuce Leaf.

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If you’re like me, an indecisive world food lover on some kind of never ending quest to feel full, whilst simultaneously feeling bad about stuffing your face – you will love this dish. We can all agree that Mexican food is super satisfying, but it isn’t exactly guilt free: the sour cream, the refried beans, the mountains of tortilla chips… okay I need to go and make some now. Thai food on the other hand typically focuses on fresh seasoning and vegetables with altogether lighter ingredients, which are just as flavourful. This recipe is a twist on a traditional Mexican dish: the humble taco, fusing Thai spices to pack it full with fresh ginger, chilli, garlic and coriander. I switched the taco shell for a Romaine lettuce leaf. You could use whatever you like here, so stick to the classic taco shell by all means, but I honestly wouldn’t have noticed the difference. For me, the taco shell is more of a vehicle to deliver the delicious filling from plate to mouth.

This dish is the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, savoury, delicious and healthy. The combination of fragrant, traditional Thai ingredients masquerades beautifully as lovely, filling Mexican food and really satisfies that craving. Everything is infused with coconut oil; fried, drenched and saturated. Coconut oil has a magically subtle flavour even when smothered on absolutely everything, and the health benefits are amazing.

The great thing about this dish is its dietary versatility. This can easily be made paleo and gluten-free by taking out the brown rice, or vegan by swapping the prawns for tofu.

This feeds two hungry gals very comfortably, so just multiply the ingredients to feed a few more.

Ingredients:

  • 220g of king prawns
  • 75g of brown rice
  • 2 hearts of Romaine lettuce
  • 1 large sweet potato (I find the Lidl sweet potatoes to be unparalleled in size and therefore value, I’m not sure who their supplier is, but they seem to be getting it right)
  • 3 spring onions
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 tomatoes
  • ½ pepper (colour of your choice)
  • 1 shallot or small onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 30g of coriander
  • 1 lime
  • 1 fresh chilli (this really is to taste, 1 chilli gives it a little kick, I’d put two in next time because I’m partial to a bit more spice)
  • 1 tsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
  • Thumb sized chunk of fresh ginger
  • A few leaves of fresh basil
  • Coconut oil

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Method:

  • Cut the sweet potato into large square strips about 2cm thick, leaving skin on if preferred. Season with one and a half tablespoons of coconut oil, salt and pepper to taste. I’ve called them spears in this recipe because that sounds good ‘un posh. Posher than wedges, which is what they actually are. Put the spears on a tray and under the grill for about 20-25 minutes

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  • Now for your rice. The rice takes about the same amount of time, so make sure you put it on simultaneously with your spears. I’ve opted for brown rice, but you could use white, or step up the healthy and replace with quinoa. Salt and cover in hot water until all the rice is submerged. Once the water has evaporated from the rice (approximately 20-25 minutes), add a spoonful of coconut oil and a squeeze of lime.
  • Now to make the guacamole. Take two ripe avocados and mash with a fork, add one chopped tomato, 1/2 of the coriander (chopped) and add in the juice of half a lime.
  • For the salsa, chop 1 tomato, half a red pepper, a shallot and half a chilli. Add a teaspoon of fish sauce, a teaspoon of soy sauce and some sprigs of chopped coriander with a few leaves of fresh basil. This is a really decadent, fragrant salsa, which really brings the whole meal together.

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  • To prepare the prawns, chop the ginger, spring onions and garlic and throw into a frying pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil. After a few minutes add in the prawns. I used frozen prawns, which are great if you’re looking to save the pennies, and the water from them mixed with the garlic and ginger creating a really lovely juice, which tastes amazing drizzled over the taco. If using fresh prawns, you can always add a few spoons of water to your pan to get this juiciness too.

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  • Finally, pop each ingredient into a separate bowl to serve. Garnish the prawns with the other half of the fresh chilli. Take a lettuce leaf, layer it with guacamole, rice, salsa and finally the prawns. Drizzle the ‘prawn juice’ over the top. Put some sweet potato spears on the side and step back for a moment of admiration. And then, of course, you can tuck in. I managed about three and the quest for a full tummy has been satiated.