Salt & pepper prawns

Salt & pepper prawns

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(10 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 10 mins


Serves 6-8 as part of a buffet
Use Sichuan peppercorns to flavour shellfish with a celery-like taste, then create a Chinese-style chilli garlic dip

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving (8)

  • kcal140
  • fat6g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs10g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre0g
  • protein11g
  • salt3.5g
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  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 24 large king prawns, peeled and deveined, with tails
  • pea shoots or baby salad leaves, to serve (optional)

For the spice mix

  • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • large pinch of chilli flakes

For the dipping sauce

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • juice 3 limes



    The same shape, but smaller than…

  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
    Fish sauce

    Fish sauce

    A seasoning often used in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. In Vietnam it is usually made from shrimp…


  1. First, make the dipping sauce. Crush the garlic, coriander and chilli using a pestle and mortar. (If you don’t have one, just finely chop.) Pound in the sugar until dissolved, then add the lime juice and fish sauce. It should taste sweet, salty and spicy.

  2. To make the spice mix, toast the Sichuan and black peppercorns in a frying pan over a medium heat for 1 min or until fragrant. Finely grind in a spice mill or using a pestle and mortar, then add the salt and chilli flakes and mix together. Transfer to a bowl.

  3. Combine the spice mix with the cornflour. Heat 7.5cm of oil in a large wok or deep heavy-based saucepan. You can test the temperature by frying a small piece of bread – it should sizzle instantly and take 20 secs to turn golden. Toss the prawns with the spice mix, shake off the excess and deep-fry, in batches, for 1-2 mins or until crisp at the edges and starting to curl. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a baking tray lined with kitchen paper and keep warm while you cook the remaining prawns. Scatter over the pea shoots or salad leaves, if you like, and serve with the dipping sauce.

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Comments, questions and tips

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1st Jul, 2020
I really like this recipe. The dipping sauce is delicious. But, I do agree that slightly less sauce is needed. Other than that, tasty!
7th May, 2017
This was absolutely awful. So salty we couldn't eat the prawns. What a waste of prawns and my time preparing it. 2 tablespoons of salt seemed far too much and it was. So disappointing and ruined a Sat night dinner!
28th Sep, 2016
Quite a nice easy recipe. I found it way too salty though. I would at least half if not quarter the amount in the recipe.
dreamweaver's picture
9th Jan, 2016
Amazing, tastes so good!
dreamweaver's picture
20th Sep, 2014
Amazing recipe, although I seem to add to much salt though every time though. However the dipping sauce never fails to go right every time- fresh, spicy and delicious. Thanks.
30th Aug, 2014
Really yummy, the dipping sauce is great too. We love spicy food so I also threw in a thinly sliced red chilli when frying and scattered them over to serve.
jackiedenise's picture
28th Feb, 2014
This is one of the best recipes I have ever cooked, taste just like the restaurant ones. Easy to make too. :)
badzilla's picture
10th Oct, 2013
A very fiddly recipe but worth the effort and can be recommended. I blogged a review complete with a photograph showing somewhat inconsistent looking prawns
20th Feb, 2017
Surely 2 tablespoons of salt isn't correct?
goodfoodteam's picture
10th Mar, 2017
Hi there, thanks for your question. That is the correct amount. Ensure that you use flaky sea salt and measure using a tablespoon measuring spoon so you don't end up with too much. Hope that helps!
27th Mar, 2014
Is there any tips for improve the taste?
goodfoodteam's picture
11th Apr, 2014
This is the classic seasoning for salt and pepper prawns, if you're not keen on the taste perhaps try cooking them in garlic, butter, white wine and parsely instead.
15th Jun, 2020
Far too salty. Half the salt and it might well be 5 stars.
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