Grilled banana prawns

Transport yourself to a Sri Lankan beach with Peter Kuruvitas prawns served with a curry leaf and black pepper sauce
By Peter Kuruvita
Grilled banana prawns
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 10-12 unshelled raw king prawns
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 6 bombay onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 x 5cm knob ginger, finely sliced
  • 3 long red chillies, finely chopped
  • 150 g butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tsp black peppercorns, roughly crushed
  • 100 ml vegetable oil

For the garnishes

  • 1 pomelo (Chinese grapefruit)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely sliced
  • 50 g freshly grated coconut
  • 2 red chillies, flesh and seeds removed and julienned
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves

Tips and Suggestions

If you can't get hold of bombay onions, use shallots instead


1. Shell, devein and wash the prawns and keep the prawn flesh to one side. Remove the small spike between the two tail fins. Set to one side.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pot over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the curry leaves, onions, ginger, garlic and chillies.

3. Stir until the onions are translucent. Add the butter and turn down the heat immediately so as not to burn the butter.

4. When the butter has melted, add the sugar, fish sauce, soy sauces, oyster sauce, pepper and a little salt and stir to combine.

5. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and leave to simmer for around 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. For the garnish: while the sauce is cooking, make the garnish. Remove the skin from the pomello by cutting off each end and prying the remaining skin away from the flesh with your fingers. Then separate each segment.

7. Inside each segment, separate the flesh to get short strands, or pearls, to sprinkle over the finished dish.

8. Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the red onion and fry until browned and crisp.
Remove from heat and leave to cool. Mix the coconut and the onion together.

9. Once the garnish is prepared, season the prawns with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

10. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Once the oil reaches smoking point, add the prawns one by one.

11. Fry until prawns are crisp and just cooked in the centre, making sure the oil remains hot enough to avoid boiling the prawns in the oil. Remove prawns from the pan and place into a bowl.

12. Intertwine two of the prawns and place onto a serving dish. Repeat with remaining prawns.

13. Take a small portion of the sauce and spoon over the top of each pair of prawns.

14. To garnish, top the prawns with a small portion of the onion and coconut mixture, some chilli, some of the fried onion, a few strands of the pomello and some of the curry leaves and serve.

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