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Malaysian Butter Prawns Recipe 奶油蝦

Sunday, October 12, 2008 | Labels: , , , |

Words cannot begin to describe how much I love and lust after butter prawns. This recipe is just so uniquely Malaysian - it totally captures the essence of Chinese, Indian and Malay cooking resulting in a to-die-for concoction! Head-on prawns are best for this recipe to fully display the rich flavours and colours of this dish. The fresh curry leaves lend an irreplaceable fragrance to this dish that is enhanced by the presence of bird's eye chilli peppers. Prawns poached in oil, then fried in butter, garlic, chilli peppers and super fragrant curry leaves - what's not to love?!


I have been on the search for fresh curry leaves in San Diego for a while, and finally found some (and reasonably priced too!) in an Indian grocery store. I was waiting with bated breath when I asked the polite salesperson if they had fresh curry leaves - when he nodded and led me to the aisle, I was so ecstatic and could hardly contain my excitement when I detected the familiar and fragrant scent of curry leaves. What a lot of fuss for something that grows commonly in everyone's garden in Malaysia! This scenario reminds me of a saying in Chinese, "When a person leaves his or her hometown, he or she is not that precious anymore, when goods leaves their original locations, they become very dear". Though this saying might be rather wide-sweeping, the second part does hold true most of the time!


The little bits in this dish are definitely the pièce de résistance (to me), I can really eat a whole bowl of rice with just the little bits! I used egg yolk this time, but you can opt to use toasted grated coconut as well.

Fresh curry leaves are essential to Butter Prawns!


For more Malaysian recipes on Tastes of Home, click below:

Malaysian Belacan Fried Rice Recipe

Stir-fried Okra in Belacan

Audrey's Mashed Banana Fritters


15 head-on prawns, shell on - deveined and remove eyes
A handful of fresh curry leaves
6 tbsps butter
5 egg yolks
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
4-5 bird's eye chilli peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
Dash of Shaoxing Wine (Chinese Rice Wine)
Dash of white pepper


Firstly, heat enough oil to poach (i.e. deep-fry briskly) the prawns. Pat the prawns dry after cleaning and poach in the hot oil until shells turn red. Remove and drain, set aside.

Next, use about 2 tbsps of the oil used earlier in your wok. Briskly fry the garlic, chilli peppers curry leaves and salt until fragrant. Turn heat to medium-low, add the butter, soy sauce and the sugar. Next, add the egg yolks, squeezing through a sift and finally the prawns that were fried earlier. Add more salt if desired at this point. Stir-around to coat and fry until the little bits of egg start to brown. Serve hot.


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charming said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I have not had it for years! Love to try it again.

Tan.wiratchada said...

I like this recipe. I also like head-on prawns but my european colleagues and my bf. never like that. Then I'll always the own all of head prawns heheheh....I love chinese and Indian style. Always great posted that why I love your blog.

Hope you had a great weekend.

SweetBites said...

hi toh, just visited ur wonderful blog via VG's. nice post about Butter Prawns, especially when u were reminiscing about curry leaves. now whenever i see my curry leaves plant, i'll remember u. i've never eaten butter prawns so i'll give ur recipe a try. thanx.

Tastes of Home said...

charming, thanks for dropping by! and yes the last time I had butter prawns was last CNY in Malaysia! I was so happy to be able to recreate this fav dish of mine :)

tan, thanks so much! you're always too kind with your compliments..and actually my husband was not very used to the heads on prawns too - but to me, they're so much more fragrant than heads off prawns!

sweetbites, welcome to TOH! hehe thanks, i wish i had a curry leave plant too but I'm so glad I found these in the Indian store, hope u will like this dish!

foodhoe said...

oh that sounds delicious and messy to eat

Tastes of Home said...

hey foodhoe! yeah..haha it's pretty messy but I so love these prawns LOL, thanks for dropping by!

Ning said...

I love buttered prawns! But it is hard to find curry leaves here, so I make do with no curry leaves. :( Then mine does not sound so authentic...

tigerfish said...

Looks like cereal prawns!

I've just used lots of curry leaves today! Love the aroma.

Are you able to get fresh curry leaves over there? Must be relatively ex compared to Asian prices. I used to buy a small pack and the unit price was $14.99USD per pound!

Tastes of Home said...

Hi ning, thanks! yeah, it took me a while to find these leaves - are there any Indian grocery stores near u? they might have some :)

TF - for the small bundle you can see in my photo, it was $0.99, is that a good price? I'm just glad I didnt have to buy a huge bundle! they have it packed into small packets hehe I LOVE curry leaves hehe

Salt N Turmeric said...

Congrats on finding the curry leaves! I too would put lotsa curry leaves when i make butter prawn. They somehow makes the prawn taste so much better kan?

Tastes of Home said...

thanks F! of course! Butter Prawns NEED curry leaves hahah, I'm still happy I found the leaves LOL

ICook4Fun said...

This is also my fav dish because of the aroma of the curry leaves but I cook it with milk and not egg yolk. I am going to try this version out. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Tastes of Home said...

^^ hey there, what kind of milk do u use? evaporated or just fresh milk? I might try that too :)

Dora said...

I can smell the fragrance from here. ;p

Tastes of Home said...

hehehe :P

noobcook said...

You are a genius for whipping up something like this! hehe ... I have a potted curry leaf plant at home, but the leaves are so small commpared to those you use :)

Tastes of Home said...

thanks noobcook but genius I am not ler hahah, I have just eaten a LOT of butter prawns hehe, I wish I had a plant! as long as they are fragrant, I think that's what matters :P

mikky said...

lovely prawns!!! now i'm lusting after recipe... guess i have to find some curry leaves soon... :)

Tastes of Home said...

hey mikky, it shld be quite easy to find over in Manila? thanks :)

Beachlover said...

wow!! I love this dish!! My favourite dish but must add XXXXX chili padi!! I still didn't attempt to make my own butter prawn yet!..thanks for sharing:))

VG said...

Prawns...What's not to like about them and Butter Prawns? Even yummier. Great recipe and beautiful pics ToH.

Cheong said...

I really love this dish. My immediate family members love this very much and often request me to cook. I in fact use chicken meat marinated it instead of prawns. It's still remain the strong favour. Thanks.

Tastes of Home said...

Cheong, thanks for dropping by :) yup, my mom likes to cook butter chicken too..both yummy!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Curry leaves: I know you said they are very, very important to this dish, but what to do if there are no curry leaves to be found? Any acceptable substitutions?

Tastes of Home said...

hi there, unfortunately, I have yet to find a suitable substitute for curry leaves - but if u cook without the curry leaves, this will still be tasty but without the unique aroma..hmm, you can probably find curry leaves at indian stores?

CRIZ LAI said...

I have heard about the problems in getting curry leaves overseas. Somehow the dried ones does not taste as good. I think it's due to the freshness of the leaves that would give that desired fragrant.

Maybe you would like to try another simple way of cooking this dish since you like butter prawns a lot.


10 large prawns (peel and cut into 2cm cubes & marinate with some pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar for 15 minutes)
some multipurpose frying flour (tempura flour will also work)
4 Tspn Butter
3 egg yolks (beaten)
Some grounded black pepper
6-8 curry leaves (bay leaves as alternative)
pinch of salt and sugar

1. Put some frying flour into the marinated prawns and mix well.
2. Fried the chunks in hot boiling oil until golden brown. Drain excess oil with kitchen towel and leave aside.
3. Heat up the butter in a wok.
4. Drip the egg yolk some at a time and scrambled it well.
5. Put in pinches of sugar for the crunchiness and some salt to taste.
6. Put in the curry leaves/bay leaves and stir until you get the aroma.
7. Put in the fried prawns and stir thoroughly while sprinkling some grounded black pepper over it to taste.
8. You can garnish this with some spring onions (4cm length)

I hope you like this simple recipe. If you want to find out more about some of my own creation, you could always check out my recipe section:

Do enjoy your cooking and have a great week ahead :)

Tastes of Home said...

thanks for offering your recipe :) Now i do know where to get the fresh curry leaves though ! thanks for stopping by

Kamchin said...

I have prawns and I have left over curry leaves, so I thought Butter Prawn would be good! Did a search and found ur recipe. So, I just tried out ur recipe and I tell is THE BEST! Though the Butter Prawn might clog the artery, it was definetely a thumb sucking good! Only thing I did a diferently, I use the whole egg instead just the egg york...did not want to waste it and the egg tasted so favourful!

Thanks for sharing!

Tastes of Home said...

kamchin - thanks for stopping by! and really glad that u enjoyed my recipe :) yeah butter prawns are definitely a sinful indulge :P

shuey said...

Hi, just drop by to say hi. :)

Have already linked you on my blogroll, will definitely come back when I am running out of ideas to cook for my hubby and my son. :)

Tastes of Home said...

thanks for dropping by shuey - hope u will find my recipes useful! :)

Dazy said...

The recipe is just fantastic. I reduced the butter from 6 tbsp to 3 tbsp. And used it first in a saucepan for two minutes with the garlic and ginger to enhance their flavors before adding the wine.

Tastes of Home said...

Dazy - thats a great idea, I always like to infuse the butter with garlic etc too..

I'm really glad u tried and like this recipe :)

Everything's Herbed said...

i love prawns! though i haven't tried this recipe yet.

i don't know where to get fresh curry leaves. what can i use as a substitute?

Tastes of Home said...

curry leaves are really essential in this dish - without which this dish will not be Malaysian Butter Prawns! LOL

thanks for stopping by tho :)

Anonymous said...

You cannot imagine since I am looking to find this recipe........I was in Malaysia for 3 years and this was my favorite food, but I never asked for the recipe.
(And I'm happy that I found curry leaves here in France)

Jen said...

^ it's great you found curry leaves in France! this is one of my fav Malaysian dishes for sure!

satrupa dash said...

First time here and I am head over heels with your blog !!

I am your happy follower

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

Satrupa, thanks very much for your kind words! Do let me know if u have any questions/ suggestions :)

Christina Soong-Kroeger said...

I LOVE butter prawns, too. We always have them when we visit Malaysia and I simply adore them. You have a stunning blog here - I'm so glad I found you via Serious Eats Photograzing. Your photographs are beautiful and very inspiring.  

Smoky Wok (Tastes of Home) said...

Hi Christina, thanks so much for your kind words and for stopping by :) I am also so glad you love butter prawns!

Darshini said...

this post and ur entire blog makes me cry and smile and growl at the same time.. i miss having butter prawns!!!!

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