Salt and Pepper Prawns

Sometimes, just out of nowhere comes a moment that makes you smile. A moment that makes you feel its all worth the effort. One such moment came in recently when Mina from The United States wrote me this wonderful email and i was delirious.

Dear Elson,

My Name is Mina and I’m from the United States. I’ve been following your blog for a while now, silently hoping to be able to re-create the wonderful Indian dishes you post. But, I’m writing for an other reason. I had a few of my husbands Italian friends come over for dinner the other day and I decided to prepare the Sicilian Style Fish in White wine.. (I used tilapia fish though) and the Alio E Olio. I must say, my guest were very impressed with my Italian cooking. It all came together like the wonderful notes in a music sheet. But, all thanks to you.

Thank you so much for your wonderful posts and the wonderful stories you tell through them.. I have spoken about your blog to my friends at work and their hooked as well.. Much like the Pied Piper of Hamelin (or India) must I say..

Do keep writing more often

Reader emails like these, my dear friends, are food for the recipe bloggers soul. In blogging, what we usually consider a solitary affair; mails (or calls or texts) like these make you want to do more and keep challenging your limits. I wanted to celebrate this with a post on fish. But, over the past couple of days, for some strange reason; there was no fish in the market. I felt like what Sachin Tendulkar must have felt in the long wait between his 99th and 100th hundred. Each walk from the pavilion to the crease heightened expectations of his team-mates, media and scores of fans, each trip to the fish market result in a crestfallen return trip back home and whatever little was available, was not worth digging into your pockets. After many to and fro trips, I seen some fabulous looking prawns. Being unable to resist, I checked the price. My fears came true. Too steep an amount. This, I felt, was going to be another wasted market trip. I walked a few steps away, the fish monger called out and asked if I was willing to buy all she was willing to give it away. I fell for it. Within a blink, I marched back home with my prized catch with an expression of having won the world cup.

The prawns were medium sized, bit large to be dunked into a curry and small enough to stay away from a Asian stir fry. But what I knew for sure was that they just needed very simple flavours and that would be it. I decided to make the Vietnamese style Salt and Pepper. Don’t be surprised if you’ve seen them in Chinese restaurants. This salt and pepper style stir fry actually originated in Vietnam and moved northward to the Chinese Mainland. Simple flavors that make the prawns the hero of the dish.

I had with with two of my good friends, a Mumbai Indians, IPL cricket match and a chilled can of beer to beat the heat. Doesn’t get better right.

Salt and Pepper Prawns

Salt and Pepper Prawns


  • 150 grams, medium sized prawns (Should be about 12-15)
  • 2 large tablespoons, cornflour
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon, Chinese five spice powder
  • Oil – sufficient for frying the prawns + 2 teaspoons extra
  • 1 teaspoon, Chinese rice wine.
  • Few sprigs of cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper(crushed), generous helpings


  • Clean, shell and de-vein the prawns and keep aside.
  • Mix the salt, pepper powder and the Chinese five spice powder and keep aside.
  • Make a semi dry mixture, using the corn flour, 1 teaspoon oil and two teaspoons water. Coat each prawn well with this batter.
  • Heat sufficient oil in a pan till it is nice and hot. Fry the prawns in the oil, for a minute till the colour of the batter changes. Take out from oil and drain on a paper towel.
  • Take out the oil from the pan and just retain a teaspoon of the oil.
  • Add the garlic and chilli. Fry till the garlic changes colour.
  • Add the prawns and give it a quick stir.
  • Now, add the rice wine and stir. Parallely, sprinkle the spice mix and stir well.
  • Add the chopped cilantro and mix.
  • Serve hot with a sprinkling of the spice mix.



2 thoughts on “Salt and Pepper Prawns

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