Grilled Prawns/Shrimp

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    6 to 8


Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

Many delicious crustaceans are found along West Africa’s coast and in its rivers, including Ghana’s. Grilling is a favored way of preparing them, as in this recipe, which is reminiscent of southern Africa’s peri-peri (or piri piri) prawns or shrimp. One sees grilled prawns frequently being sold as a snack along the roadside near the coast in Ghana. They are also served at buffets with other dishes, or as an upscale party appetizer.

Fresh prawns are plentiful in Ghana, but frozen tiger shrimp can be substituted. If possible, choose those with heads and tails intact. If the shrimp are beheaded, they work, but it detracts a bit from the fabulous presentation. Allow two large shrimp per serving/skewer.


  • 2 pounds large tiger shrimp or prawns (6 to 8 per pound)
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  • ¼ cup grated shallots or onion
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground/grated/crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt or seasoned salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons dried ground red pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon fish masala powder or curry powder or similar
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola or similar), plus a little extra to drizzle over shrimp while grilling

Special Equipment

  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before using



Prepare shrimp

  1. Devein the shrimp by making a cut along the back and removing the thick vein (and devein the underside as well if desired). Leave the head on if possible. Remove the rest of the shell, but leave the last piece of shell next to the tail so that the tail stays attached. If the head falls off while grilling, it can be slipped back on. (Alternatively, butterfly some or all of the shrimp which increases the surface coated by the spicy seasonings.)
  2. Put 3 cups of water into a bowl and add the lemon juice. Put the shrimp into the water, mixing well to coat all parts of them. Drain and put on paper towels to drain further.

Marinate shrimp

  1. Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold the shrimp and taste for heat and adjust seasonings if needed. Stir the marinade and add the shrimp, tossing to coat them well. Marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Grill shrimp

  1. Thread 2 shrimp onto each skewer by inserting the skewer at the tail and working it up to the head, keeping each shrimp in a straight line. (This prevents the shrimp from curling up as they cook.)
  2. When your coals have cooked down to medium hot, brush the grill rack with oil and set it close to the coals. Drizzle a little oil over each shrimp, turning the skewers so both sides are coated. Place the shrimp skewers on the grill and turn the skewers every couple of minutes to prevent burning, adding more oil if necessary. They should cook in 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the size of the prawns and the heat of the fire.

To serve

Grilled shrimp/prawns can be eaten with plain boiled rice or Coconut Rice, a Ghanaian tomato gravy, vegetables, or yams, or they can be served as an appetizer.


Broil instead of grill the shrimp/prawns.