Friday means… chilli prawns

Finger lickin’ chilli prawns

We made this dish specifically so that we could eat man tou, the Chinese steamed white bread that I’ve only just taught myself to make (recipe here).

Fried man tou

I guess some people might say that we have a slightly twisted way of thinking up recipes because you don’t normally think of the bread first before you make a dish, but man tou are seriously special, and we really wanted to cook a dish that was perfect for it.

So here’s recommendation number one for what to eat with man tou – chilli prawns.

The sauce for this chilli prawn recipe is based on Singapore’s famous Chilli Crabs recipe. I had originally hoped to make said Singapore Chilli crabs but it’s not so easy to get hold of blue spider crabs in the UK and the local Thai grocery store had unfortunately just sold out of any frozen blue crabs. We therefore ended up getting some large tiger prawns and made chilli prawns, which were just as good, as the finger licking mess on my plate proved 🙂

Though this is steamed man tou, this is what the centre of a fried man tou also looks like - it's perfect for soaking up sauces

In truth, I think this sauce is simply brilliant with any seafood you fancy. If you ever try to make this yourself, you’ll soon know why man tou are an essential accompaniment – you’ll want a spongey bread that can soak up every last drop of this sauce off your plate, it’s seriously that morerish!

In Singapore, you normally have it with fried man tou but the plain steamed white buns work equally well.

My only advice is that if you think you’d like to try making this with crabs, please, please, please don’t use mud crabs. I’ve seen lots of Western recipes saying that it’s ok but it’s not!

Large mud crabs are never as sweet as smaller spider crabs, and you really want a thinner shelled crab to ensure all the flavours from the sauce permeate the shell, which is why mud crabs just don’t work because they’re built like armoured tanks!

Anyway, enough of the lecture, back to the fun bit… these chilli prawns are quite mild in flavour (in terms of chilli heat) but as always, the heat depends on the type of chilli you can get hold of.

If you give it go, make sure you eat them with a bowl of warm water nearby (to wash your hands in) and plenty of napkins because it is messy work, especially if you can’t be bothered peeling the prawns beforehand. I do hope this recipe will give you some ideas of your own and, by the way, it only takes 30 minutes to make, woohooooo! 🙂

Yummy yummy chilli prawns

To make Chilli Prawns

10-12 large tiger prawns – it’s up to you to decide if you’d like to peel them or not but do leave the heads on as it’s essential for adding flavour to the dish

2 brown onions, peeled and quartered

4 red chillies 2 green chillies (optional)

(optional)1 teaspoon Belachan – this is a fermented shrimp paste you can find in Asian groceries but you can leave it out

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

2 generous thumb sized pieces of ginger, peeled

2 tablespoons vinegar

3 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon tomato paste

400ml tomato puree – I use passata

4 tablespoons light soy sauce

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons corn flour or potato starch, mixed in with  ½ cup of water

2 beaten eggs

Blitzed onions, ginger, garlic and chillies


In a food processor, blend the chillies, red onion, garlic and ginger.

In a small bowl, prepare your corn flour and water mixture.

In another bowl, mix the remaining wet ingredients (except the oil), stirring in the salt and sugar until everything’s mixed well.

To cook

On the highest setting/flame, heat the oil in a wok and stir fry your belachan, blended onion, ginger, garlic and chilli mixture until most of the liquid has been fried off. Pour in your tomato mixture and fry/stir this for about 5 minutes until everything’s mixed in thoroughly.

Add your prawns/seafood and when they turn pink (which means they’re cooked), add the corn flour mixture to start thickening the sauce.

Please leave the heads on - it's where the flavour comes from!

Add in the beaten eggs, give it a gentle stir and turn off the heat while still stirring the egg mixture so it mixes well with the sauce. Don’t worry if it looks like you end up with some thin ribbons of egg, they’re an added bonus!

Pour everything into a deep serving dish, garnish it with fresh coriander and serve it with man tou or your favourite white/brown bread. White rice works well too but you really need a bread like man tou (or a super soft white loaf or bread rolls) to sop up all of that sauce.

Ta da! Chilli Prawns. Finger Licking Good.

3 Responses to “Friday means… chilli prawns”
  1. Love the look of this prawn dish! And thanks for the tips about the crabs.

  2. I’m in!! My kind of recipe!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 335 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: