Author Notes: This recipe was inspired by a marvel of a salad served at Sriphiphai Thai Restaurant in New York. It features deep-fried watercress which sounds like an impossibility, but winds up as revelation. Part of the revelation for me was that I could deep-fry all kinds of fragrant, green herbs and come up with startling and delightful flavor combinations. Basil is a perfect candidate for this treatment, its flavors intensified by the quick hot dip in oil. The shrimp is optional, but does make this dish a more substantial main course serving. - vrunka
- 2 cups basil leaves (trimmed, but whole)
- 2/3 cups tempura flour
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 2-3 cups vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound shrimp (cleaned and split in half)
- 1 Granny Smith apple, shredded
- 1/2 cup roasted cashews
- 2 tablespoons tamarind juice
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3-5 Thai hot chilies, sliced thin
- Wash and dry the basil leaves. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, slowly add the water to the tempura flour, whisking to combine well.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil to 350 degrees. Working quickly, dip each basil leaf into the tempura batter then drop in the oil. Do about 10 leaves at a time. Pull out the leaves when they are crisp and slightly brown, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining leaves.
- Drain off the oil in the skillet and wipe it out. Heat the skillet to medium high and toss the shrimp in the pan, sautéing for about 5 minutes or until pink. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.
- Toss together the shrimp, apple and cashews and place on serving platter.
- Combine all ingredients for the dressing, making sure the sugar completely dissolves. Pour over the shrimp mixture and toss to combine.
- Top with fried basil leaves and serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe Using Fresh Basil