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Make Natasha MacAller's prawns with a citrus, hibiscus and chilli crumb

Cleansing hibiscus is paired with classic citrus and chillies to create an unusual crumb for this tangy prawn starter

Natasha MacAller's prawns with a hibiscus, citrus and chilli crumb. Photograph by Manja Wachsmuth

Serves 6

Preparation time 10 mins

Cooking time 10

Tangy hibiscus flower buds or tea, which can be purchased at health or specialty food shops or online, are full of vitamin C and anthocyanins and are widely touted as a natural remedy for conditions like fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome. Good thing they're tasty, too – this dish balances the tart flavour of the hibiscus with rich prawns and delicately scented melon.


  • ½ Tuscan-style cantaloupe melon, peeled, sliced and cut into triangular pieces
  • Zest and juice of 4 lemons
  • Zest and juice of 4 limes
  • 1½ jalapeños, minced
  • 2 tsp dried hibiscus flower buds or tea, finely chopped or crumbled
  • 55g dry breadcrumbs
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 65g palm or soft brown sugar
  • 4 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp dark rum
  • 24 large prawns, peeled, cleaned and deveined and butterflied
  • 6 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 spring onions, sliced on the bias, to garnish
  • 1 handful microgreens, to garnish (optional)


  1. Put the cut melon in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, stir together the lemon and lime zests, the jalapeños, hibiscus tea, the breadcrumbs and salt, and then set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the lemon and lime juice with the sugar, ginger and 120ml water, and heat until reduced to about 120ml. Add the rum and cook for 1 minute then remove from the heat, pour over the melon and toss together. Set aside.
  4. Pat the prawns dry and then coat with 2 teaspoons of the grapeseed oil. Heat the remaining 4 teaspoons of oil in a sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Coat the prawns thoroughly in the prepared crust mixture, and then sear in the oil in batches, adding some more oil if necessary. Cook for 2 minutes and then turn.
  5. Spoon the melon and sauce onto individual plates or a serving platter, arrange the prawns on top and scatter with the spring onions and microgreens, if using.