This Thai-inspired dish has wonderful wild rabbit as its star ingredient, but as Tim Maddams says, it requires time and patience to get it right. Serves four.
This Thai-style fried rabbit recipe is not for the timid or lazy cooks among you — it is well worth the effort, though. I’ve used rabbit here, but you could use pheasant if you have some in the freezer; the thighs would work well. I tend to brine my rabbits lightly before storing them in the freezer, so the lack of salt in this recipe may need to be amended, or you can just use more of the soy drizzle — it’s up to you. (Read tips for freezing game here.)
I have never been to Thailand, but this recipe is based on extensive research and some trial and error. Excuse the use of the spicy peanut-dressed bean sprouts — that’s more of a Malaysian thing, but it works well here. I have also tried this recipe with rabbit that has been cold smoked first, and that is something else altogether.
The rabbit must be marinated properly. Anything less than three hours really won’t cut it, and I suggest the ideal starting point is 24 hours. You will also need either a deep fryer or a pan large enough to hold 3in of oil without coming more than one-third of the way up the pan so that it doesn’t get a bit tricky when frying.
Thai-style fried rabbit, jasmine rice, peanut-dressed bean sprouts and soy drizzle sauce
- Four rabbit haunches or one whole rabbit
- 300g jasmine rice
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- ¼ bunch fresh coriander, very finely chopped
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 dsp brown sugar
- 200g rice flour
- 120ml soda water
- A pinch of bicarbonate of soda
- 150g beansprouts, well washed and drained
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 fresh red chilli, very finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp crunchy peanut butter
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- A good pinch of five-spice powder
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 2 dsp coconut sugar
- A good dash of rice vinegar
- First, make the marinade. Blitz all the marinade ingredients together in a mini blender or bash them together in a pestle and mortar. Rub the mixture all over the rabbit. Place it in a tub or dish, cover and refrigerate for as long as you can manage — a minimum of three hours up to 48 hours.
- When you are ready to cook, add the soda water and the bicarb to 100g of rice flour and whisk to make a light batter. Dip the rabbit haunches into the batter until completely covered, then place them on a plate and sprinkle over rice flour from a sieve. Turn and repeat. Leave the pieces to rest for 15 minutes before cooking.
- Then make the dressing with the sesame oil, chilli, lime juice and peanut butter — dress the bean sprouts at the last minute as you would a salad. You can embellish this with toasted crushed peanuts if you like.
- Combine the soy drizzle sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring rapidly to a simmer while stirring. Once thickened, take off the heat and set aside.
- Heat a deep fryer or a pan with a few inches of sunflower oil to 170°C, place as many pieces as will fit easily into the fryer to cook at any one time, set a timer for 5 minutes and, once fried, drain well on kitchen paper. Repeat until all the rabbit is cooked.
- Serve a piece of rabbit atop freshly cooked jasmine rice, drizzle with the soy and then top with the dressed bean sprouts — you could also add crispy garlic or some shrimp and chilli powder on the top.