Salt and pepper prawns

Luke Nguyen's crispy prawns, Tom Rang Muoi, make a superb snack or light meal with an icy cold beer
By Luke Nguyen
Salt and pepper prawns
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 jumbo-sized raw prawns, unpeeled
  • 250 g cornflour or potato starch
  • 500 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp red Asian shallots
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 red chilli, sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced into 4 cm pieces
  • 1 lime, quartered

Tips and Suggestions

Red Asian shallots look similar to golden shallots, but are pink-red in colour, with a sweeter, subtler flavour. They are available at all Asian food stores and some supermarkets.

You can substitute golden shallots if necessary, but the onion taste will be stronger.

Unsure about any of these ingredients? See our Vietnamese food glossary for help and alternative recommendations.


1. Put the pepper, salt and five spice into a heavy-based frying pan and dry roast for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from the pan and allow to cool, then combine with the sugar in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside until ready to use.

2. In a deep frying pan, deep-fryer or wok, heat the oil to 180C.

3. Dust the prawns with cornflour and fry the prawns for 1-2 minutes until the colour changes and the shell is crisp. Make sure you only fry 2 prawns at a time to keep the oil at a constant high heat. Remove the prawns from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining prawns.

4. Heat a heavy-based, non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add a little of the vegetable oil if necessary, then add the red shallots, garlic, chilli and spring onion and cook until fragrant.

5. Add the cooked prawns and the reserved spice mix, tossing them well to coat the prawns thoroughly with the spices.

6. Serve in a bowl and garnish with lime quarters.

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