First, make the dipping sauce. Crush
the garlic, coriander and chilli using a
pestle and mortar. (If you don’t have
one, just finely chop.) Pound in the sugar
until dissolved, then add the lime juice
and fish sauce. It should taste sweet,
salty and spicy.
To make the spice mix, toast the
Sichuan and black peppercorns in a frying
pan over a medium heat for 1 min or until
fragrant. Finely grind in a spice mill or
using a pestle and mortar, then add the
salt and chilli flakes and mix together.
Transfer to a bowl.
Combine the spice mix with the
cornflour. Heat 7.5cm of oil in a large wok
or deep heavy-based saucepan. You can
test the temperature by frying a small
piece of bread – it should sizzle instantly
and take 20 secs to turn golden. Toss the
prawns with the spice mix, shake off the
excess and deep-fry, in batches, for
1-2 mins or until crisp at the edges and
starting to curl. Remove with a slotted
spoon, drain on a baking tray lined with
kitchen paper and keep warm while you
cook the remaining prawns. Scatter over
the pea shoots or salad leaves, if you like,
and serve with the dipping sauce.