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I started working on this recipe for Breaded Prawns with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce in my kitchen in Los Angeles, and finished it up at my parents house in Kent; it has become a firm favourite of my Father’s. Yes, he’ll eat anything with prawns, but it really is a great way to transform a bag of frozen prawns into something hot and juicy for sharing, either as a simple starter or with drinks sitting outside before dinner on a summers evening.
With a hint of chilli, a crisp coating and that you can coat them ahead and keep them in the fridge ready to fry up when you want them, they’re super addictive. They’re also a great last-minute addition to a salad to make it more of a meal.
Initially the idea was to use up everything I had left over in my Los Angeles kitchen before I moved back home. I’d purchased a bag of big frozen prawns to make a Jambalaya, and they’d been sitting in my freezer. A traditional British Pub prawn cocktail salad had happened one night for dinner, but there were still plenty left and I did not want to find myself buying yet more ingredients to make used of them.
I always have eggs, then there were a lot of dried breadcrumbs that needed dispatching. A bottle of Sweet Chilli sauce from Trader Joe’s for a Beef Thai Noodle Salad I’m still perfecting / I had on hand to jazz up takeout or anything of a slightly Asian persuasion that was a little lacklustre was in the fridge, so this great slightly Asian style starter that is so easy to make was born, and then perfected to create this breaded prawns recipe that has honestly become one of the most popular recipes on this site.
These hot, slightly spicy and really easy breaded prawns are great as a canapé or as part of a party spread with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.
1 Pack Large Uncooked Prawns (Shrimps, you Americans!)
Fine Dried Breadcrumbs or (my favourite) Jewish Traditional Matzo Meal
Mild Chilli Powder
1 Large Egg
Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce (I don’t have a preference in the UK but for my American based readers who are lucky enough to have their stores in their state, Trader Joe’s every time!)
Pour enough breadcrumbs to coat about half the centimetre of the bottom of a plate onto said small plate and mix with a couple of big pinches of chilli powder, so the powder is noticeably colouring the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Beat the egg in another small plate with a fork until combined.
Individually dip each prawn in egg, then coat in the chilli breadcrumb mix and set aside. I find it makes it easier to use one hand for egg and one hand for breadcrumbs.
In a large, deep frying pan pour enough of an equal mix of ground nut and sunflower oils to cover the bottom with about half a centimetre of oil. Other flavourless, or mild olive oils work for this too, but I’ve found because of the varying smoking points of the mix of the two oils, this combination works best. Heat until the oil shimmers.
Very carefully lower the prawns, one by one into the oil. Depending on how many prawns you have or the size of your pan, you can cook them in batches.
Turn over after about two minutes, or until the bottom size of the breadcrumbs are golden. Using a slatted spoon or tongs carefully turn each prawn over and fry until the underside is golden. Remove from the pan with the same implement and drain away excess cooking oil on a plate covered in a couple of sheets of kitchen towel. Serve hot and with Sweet Chilli Sauce.
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One Pan Pescatarian: 100 Delicious Dinners – Veggie, Vegan, Fish
My second cookbook contains 100 delicious dinner recipes, all of which are either vegetarian, vegan or which celebrate fish and seafood - all cooked in either one pot or one pan.*