Spicy Coconut Prawns

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Thai cooks are masters in blending spices and seasonings in such a way that the individual flavours are quite discernible but the ensemble has its own special taste. In matters coconut, Thai chefs have learned how to use this unusual condiment in many ways and to excellent effect, as in this recipe. The prawns are marinated in the rich coconut milk and absorb a flavour-enhancing dimension. The other seasonings delight the palate as well. This is a delicious centrepiece for any meal.


  • 450 g (1 lb) raw prawns
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 small fresh red or green Thai chillies, seeded and shredded
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce or light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 450 ml (14 fl oz) tinned coconut milk
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) groundnut (peanut) oil
  • plain flour, for dusting


Peel the prawns and discard the shells. Using a small sharp knife, remove the fine digestive cord. Wash the prawns in cold water with 1 teaspoon of the salt, then rinse well and pat dry with kitchen paper.

Combine the chillies, curry paste, fish sauce, shallots, garlic, lime juice, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the coconut milk in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a dish, add the prawns and let them marinate for 1 hour. Drain the prawns well and set aside.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, reduce the heat to low. Dust the prawns with the flour, shaking off any excess. Slowly pan-fry them for about 2–3 minutes on each side. Drain on kitchen paper and serve at once.