Salt & Pepper Prawns


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

China: A Cookbook


By Terry Tan

Published 2020

  • About

This is the simplest way of preparing prawns in their shells and Cantonese chefs have the technique down to a fine art. Chefs in Hong Kong are particularly skilled, employing the flash stir-frying method by which they coax flames to catch in the wok. It is pure theatre.


  • 16 large tiger prawns/jumbo shrimp
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 10 ml/2 tsp salt


    1. Clean the prawns thoroughly and cut off 1cm/Β½in from the head end of each. Remove the whiskers. If the prawns are particularly large, use a sharp knife to split each one in half down its length.
    2. Heat a dry wok. Add the prawns to the hot pan and flash fry over high heat for 2 minutes or until they turn pink, shivering the wok to keep them on the move at all times. Tip the prawns into a bowl.
    3. Add the oil to the wok and heat it. When it is very hot, add the garlic and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the prawns, with the pepper and salt and stir rapidly over high heat for 2–3 minutes. Cover the wok with a lid and cook for 1 minute more.
    4. Transfer the prawns to a dish and serve immediately.