Recipe: Hot pepper prawns

Hot Pepper Prawns

Hello, my dear readers. It is time for another recipe. This time it’s a quick n’ easy prawn recipe – Hot Pepper Prawns. Heck, anything with prawns is quick n’ easy because prawns cook so fast. It’s a real pity that some of our Indian restaurants simmer them till the cows come home, sucking out the life from the delicate creatures.

Oh alright, they’ve technically already had the life sucked out of them before they go into the pot, but you know what I’m talking about.

This dish is simple in its flavours. There is no combination of multiple complex flavours like one of my Thai or Malay curries. Yet, sometimes a simple dish is what you need. All this dish needs to go along is some simple fried rice (just stir-fry yesterday’s leftover rice with some ginger, garlic, spring onions, eggs, and salt.) and perhaps a stir-fried vegetable dish. You can make all that in under 30 minutes.

If you get medium to large prawns, this dish should take very little time. There isn’t even much chopping to do. The hardest part is to devein the prawns, and I’ve written an entire article devoted to that topic. Don’t be put off by the amount of pepper in the dish. Sure, it makes the dish decidedly peppery, but you can’t have hot pepper prawns minus the pepper, can you?

What you need

Medium Prawns (shell removed and deveined) – 150 gm

Butter – 1-2 tbsp

Black pepper, freshly ground (coarse) – 2-3 tsp

Garlic – minced – 2 tsp

Thai bird chillies – finely sliced – 1 tsp (omit this if you can’t take the heat)

Light soy sauce – 2 tsp

Dark soy sauce – 2 tsp

Oyster sauce – 1 tbsp

Chicken stock or water – 2 tbsp

How to make it

Heat a wok till it’s medium hot. (Very hot will burn the butter, so be careful.)

Add the butter and wait till it starts foaming. Then add the garlic, pepper and chillies. Stir-fry for about 10-20 seconds.

Add the prawns and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.

Now add the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chicken stock. Turn up the heat to high and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Let the sauces thicken but not burn.

Your prawns should be done. Check if the flesh is opaque. If in doubt, under-cook rather than overcook them.

Um, that’s all there is to it. This is a 3-minute recipe. Enjoy it while it’s hot.


This recipe can also be used with good effect for various other kinds of seafood. The only thing that varies is the cooking time and the amount of chicken stock. For small fish fillets, increase the cooking time by another 3 minutes or so. For squid, decrease it by about a minute. You can even use whole crab in this recipe, but increase the quantities of the seasonings to account for the larger crab. If you’re feeling adventurous, try this with veggies. Increase the amount of water and the cooking time so the veggies cook through properly.

Butter burns easily and has to carefully controlled in the pan. If you’re not sure you can do that, you can stir-fry in peanut oil and then add a bit of butter along with the prawns. Alternatively, start with a 50-50 mixture of peanut oil and butter in the pan. You can leave out the butter if you’re weight-watching, but it adds a nice, rich flavour to the dish.

Please don’t buy prawns that have been shelled and then frozen. They are usually tasteless. Only buy ones that are still in their shell. If you’re spending money to buy expensive seafood, it should at least taste good. The larger the prawns, the easier they are to devein.

Yes, you need freshly cracked pepper for this dish. The readymade fine powdered stuff just won’t do.

This recipe takes 3 minutes to make, so you can’t possibly have an excuse for not making it. :)

21 Replies to “Recipe: Hot pepper prawns”

  1. Thanks a bunch!!! I am always looking for prawn recipies -Tarique loves them :)
    I am going to try this tonight.

  2. I wonder if you can devise a printer friendly page. I’d like to print out some of your receipes for relatives who are not computer savvy.

  3. hey i chanced upon ur blog, looks very interesting…am lookin at the menu now..have heard of the place, n now that i hav the menu on hand too, i will surely vist the place soon!!!

  4. Hi,
    Very professional approach and easily understandable. I am a vegetarian and i love cooking new things too.
    Can u help me with some vegetarian delicacies. Visit my blog when u find time.

  5. Could not make it :(
    No oyster sauce available at nagpur. Searched all the supermarkets but in vain -is there a replacement?

  6. It’s definitely a bad idea to look at this close to dinner time :( It looks absolutely yummilicious! Btw, I bought some packeted prawns (they are already deveined) but they weren’t too tasty and they give out a lot of water so they don’t fry well. What should I do? Help, oh all-knowing and almighty chef ;)

  7. is there an alternate to oyster sauce, madhu?

  8. Madhu (Ze Chef) says:

    I’m afraid that there is no useful substitute for the rich flavour of oyster sauce, short of making your own with oysters.
    Oyster sauce is easily available in supermarkets in most big cities, however.

  9. Hi..came across this site while reading someone’s blog. Found this a neat idea. How I wish I could visit your restaurant but cant as i m in US. But will definitely recommend my friends out there! Hope to try your recipes some day.
    Keep up the good work…reading your blog has made me hungry!

  10. This recipie rocks!!!
    Fast to cook and good to eat. I made it today and both of us are still smacking our lips.

  11. The recipe is easy and it tastes good too. But unfortunately I used too much pepper and made it too hot. :-(

  12. Awesome! I can’t stop drooling all over the carpet!! :-)

  13. is oyster sauce not made with fermented soya bean and not actually oysters?

  14. Jon,
    No, Oyster sauce really has oysters in it. It also has salt, caramel, soy sauce and other ingredients. :)

  15. Hi, A very delicious recipe. Had never tried pepper with prawns, why I can’t figure it out, although always had it with crabs.
    Even my younger daughter who prefers crabs to prawns was licking her fingers. What to talk of my elder one who just relishes prawns.
    In Zambia we are very lucky to get nice big prawns from Tanzania. Would apreciate more of your sizzling, hot recipes. Regards

  16. Hi My daughter and I had fun making this. She over did it with the butter but overall its a dish that tastes real good and is very simple to make. By the way my daughter is 8yrs of age!!

  17. This is so tempting that I have got to try it. Thanks to the great writing and mouthwatering photos I’m actually considering running out to the supermarket to pick up some prawns and pepper although it’s 2.30am. Arrggghhhh.

  18. Tried ur recipe, awesome..Thanks a bunch. Will try the other ones too and am sure to visit ur restaurant if i come to bangalore ever…
    Keep up ur good work…and goodluck

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