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Article: Hot Pepper Prawns

Hot Pepper Prawns

I was introduced to this dish one evening when I dined with Madhur Jaffrey and her husband at the Shun Lee Palace restaurant in New York. She suggested it to me, predicting that I would appreciate the imaginative interplay of pungent aromas and spicy flavours. How right she was. This is an exciting taste treat and very easy to prepare. Serve it with rice and you have a simple but very impressive meal.


Preparation Time: 18 minutes

Cooking Time: 4 minutes

Serves: 4


Ideal wok pairing: 30cm Aluminium Wok - Deep, flat based wok, and large enough for ingredients for four.



1 lb (450g) raw prawns

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cornflour

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons oil, preferably groundnut

2 fresh chilli, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon black beans

2 tablespoon garlic, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons spring onions, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons white rice vinegar

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons cornflour mixed with 2 teaspoons water


  1. Peel the prawns and discard the shells. Using a small sharp knife, split the prawns partially and remove the fine digestive cord. Pat the prawns dry with kitchen paper and combine with the salt, cornflour, and sesame oil and mix well.
  2. Heat a wok or large frying pan until it is hot, then add the oil and prawns. Stir-fry for 1 minute and remove the prawns with a slotted spoon. In the remaining oil, add the chilli, black beans, garlic, and spring onions. Stir-fry for 20 seconds and add the vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar.
  3. Stir in the cornflour mixture and return the prawns to the wok. Cook for another 2 minutes and serve at once.

Pro Tip:

* The sauce can be doubled and toss with fresh egg noodles or rice noodles for a one-dish meal.


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