10leavesshisoshredded, either the purple or green variety will do
1spring onionfinely chopped (about 20g)
2teaspoonsXO Sauce(Optional – or use 1 teaspoon small dried prawns, chopped)
1eggseparated into white and yolk
5sliceswhite bread – not too fresh (about a day old)
Oil for deep frying
Vietnamese Nuoc Cham
1/2 teaspoongarlicminced (about 1 small clove)
1red chilifinely diced, deseeded if preferred
To make the prawn filling
Place the prawns in a food processor, and process in short pulses till roughly chopped, just until the mixture starts to form a ball. Try not to blend it too much, as some larger chunks of prawn adds variety to the overall texture.
Place the blended prawns into a bowl, and add the shiso leaves, XO sauce if using, garlic, ginger, spring onion, cornflour and fish sauce. Mix well.
In another bowl, beat the egg white till the soft peak stage. Take about a quarter of the beaten egg white and mix it well into the prawn mixture to loosen it somewhat, then fold in the rest of the egg white, being careful not to knock out too much air. Set aside in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.
To make the nuoc cham
In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and stir well until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust with more lime juice, sugar or fish sauce depending on your preference. Set aside till ready to use.
Assemble and fry the toasts
Heat the oil till it reaches 176°C / 350°F and maintain at this temperature throughout frying.
Cut the bread slices in half on the diagonal (corner to corner) to make two triangles per slice. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the prawn mix on each triangle.
Spread the sesame seeds on a small plate. Beat the egg yolk, and brush a little onto the top of each of the prawn fillings, then gently press the egg yolk side down onto the sesame seeds and carefully shake off any excess. Repeat for all the slices.
Place three or four pieces prawn side down into the hot oil, and fry for 2 -3 minutes till golden. Flip the toasts over and fry bread side down for a further minute or two till well browned. Remove and drain well on some paper towel. Serve with the dipping sauce.