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Prawns with coconut, coriander and passion fruit – recipe

This exotic starter from Daniele Usai is incredibly refreshing and elegant, with a deceptively simple coconut foam. You do not have to serve the prawn heads, although they do add a touch of drama to the dish.

Prawns with coconut, coriander and passion fruit

Chef: Daniele Usai

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Course: Starter

Skill level: Easy


  • 20 medium-sized red prawns
  • 200ml of coconut milk
  • 6g of soy lecithin
  • 2 passion fruit, halved and seeds reserved
  • 200g of fresh coriander
  • Edible flowers
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Natural sea salt
  • Sarawak black pepper


  • Thermometer
  • Juicer


  1. Shell and de-vain the prawns, removing the heads and tails (reserve the heads for garnish)
  2. Place the coconut milk in a small pan and heat through at 60℃. Add the soy lecithin and use a hand blender to blitz the top of the mixture until it froths
  3. Reserve a few whole coriander leaves for garnish, then add the rest to a juicer and blend to separate the juice and solids
  4. Place five red prawns on a large serving plate or in a deep soup plate and season well with salt and pepper. Add a few spoons of the passion fruit to each plate and drizzle over a little coriander juice and some extra virgin olive oil
  5. Finish the dish with a few spoons of coconut foam, the reserved coriander leaves and a few edible flowers.
  6. Garnish with the prawn heads, if liked

The wine

Fresh prawns sitting next to bubbly, rich coconut milk all sweetened by electric passionfruit is a surprisingly easy dish to match with wine. Decanter can only recommend Riesling.

The white grape may have a maligned history, but it is adored by the wine trade and wine aficionados worldwide and is always threatening to make a mainstream comeback. Exquisite examples can easily be found outside the supermarket aisles from the quality wine regions of Germany, the Grand Crus of Alsace and the plains of Austria.

You may notice that all these regions are northern hemisphere; however, the ultimate Riesling match for this tropical dish is from the Clare Valley, Australia. Clare Valley Rieslings’ possess a zippy lime character and a kerosene note which, when consumed with this recipe, would dance over the prawns, lighten the coconut and turn that charged passion fruit up a volt or two – Harry Fawkes, Decanter.com

Recipe courtesy of Daniele Usai. Launching soon Great Italian Chefs showcases the best culinary talent that Italy has to offer. Visit Great Italian Chefs for more recipes and features for Italy’s most exciting chefs.

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