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Chinese Salt Pepper Prawns/ Shrimps Recipe 椒盐虾

Sunday, September 04, 2011 | Labels: , , , , |

Dishes,Salt pepper prawns are probably one of the easiest and most delicious ways of preparing prawns the Chinese way and is almost always a popular fixture in most menus of Chinese restaurants everywhere. As with most dishes, there is always more than one way of preparation, I've had salt pepper prawns slathered in batter then deep-fried and I've also had more 'delicate' salt pepper prawns in that the prawns are not coated in heavy batter before frying. As to which version I prefer, it really depends - I like both versions on different days but for today's feature I am sharing the version sans the heavy batter. The prawns have to be rubbed with salt and marinated for at least 1 hour, preferably more if you have the time as this really makes quite a bit of (positive) difference to the final dish.  The fried prawns are finally coated in an incredibly aromatic mix of sautéed garlic, green onions and bird's eye chilli peppers, more salt is added if required and the dish is done.


If you haven't already noticed, the Chinese love their prawns and it's not only because prawns make good eating but also because prawns in Chinese are pronounced the same way as laughter (虾 means prawns while 哈 means 'ha'), hence you will usually find a lot of prawn dishes during festive seasons especially during the lunar new year. Ringing in the new year with laughter sounds very appealing does it not? This is definitely an easy way to cook prawns at home - straightforward as it is, do keep in mind the following:

1.  Buy the freshest prawns you can (this is probably a no-brainer) :P
2.  Don't overcook the prawns (in my opinion, this is the irreversible sin when it comes to cooking prawns/ seafood)
3.  Don't overcrowd your wok/ pan while frying, do the frying in batches (I know it's more work but it's worth it, sometimes impatience can overcome you, I've done it before too though I've always regretted it later when the prawns don't turn out as crispy)


Note from Jen:  I recommend to 'marinate' the prawns in salt for at least 1 hour before cooking.  Although I did not use corn flour this time, the shells were still very crispy minus the 'powdery' texture you may get.

Serving suggestion:  with steamed rice

Serves 4


16 large sized prawns, cleaned but leave shell on (I prefer mine heads-on too though I don't necessarily eat the heads, it just gives the prawns more flavour)
2 tbsps of salt for rubbing the prawns before cooking (you can dust with some corn flour but for today's version, I did not use corn flour so the taste was 'cleaner'). 

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 bird's eye chilli peppers, sliced (seeded if you prefer less heat)
3 stalks green onions, sliced

2 tsps salt or to taste


Firstly, butterfly the prawns for easier cleaning then rub the prawns with the salt and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour (up to 4 hours) in the fridge if you can.

Prepare a wok for deep-frying the prawns.  Once oil is hot, turn heat to medium.  Fry the prawns in batches as you have to make sure you don't overcrowd your wok.  Fry for about 3-4 minutes depending on the size of your prawns.  Continue with the rest of the prawns.

Clean your wok.  Heat wok until almost smoking.  Add about 2 tbsps cooking oil and turn heat to low.  Swirl to coat.  Add the garlic, green onions and chilli slices into the wok.  Stir-fry till aromatic.  Add another 2 tsps of salt.  Add in the prawns from earlier and stir well to coat.  Turn heat to high again and stir briskly for another 30 seconds.  Do a taste test and add more salt if desired.  Serve hot.


Three-Cookies said...

Massive prawns. They look delicious, even though I am allergic:( 

Smallkucing said...

i love prawns. Ya this dish is definitely do able for me

noobcook said...

I love it when a recipe calls for simple ingredients like salt and pepper, really brings out the wholesome flavour of the fresh prawns :)

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

ahhh I see! thanks though..

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

Glad you find this easy too SK!

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

You're right Wiffy! Fresh prawns really don't need much dressing up eh?

kelvinwu said...

I like prawns, but I don't like to peel them :p I'm so lazy haha 

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

haha, eat them 'Chinese' style with shells and all :D

Maureen said...

Simple, fresh and delicious!  Just lovely.

Tastes of Home (Jen) said...

thanks Maureen!

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