Recipes

Chilli Prawns

If you're not eating these messy, garlicky prawns with your hands, you're eating them wrong
40 Ratings
Chilli Prawns Recipe - Fat Rice, Chicago
Photo: Dan Goldberg

Macanese cuisine may be unfamiliar to most, but that doesn't mean it's inaccessible. At Fat Rice in Chicago (and now, in his residency at Chefs Club New York), chef Abe Conlon stuffs jumbo prawns with garlic, spicy chillies and cilantro for a quick appetizer that goes from stove to table in 20 minutes.

Search for the largest prawns (or shrimp) you can find—this recipe calls for U-10s, meaning there are about 10 shrimp to a pound. And lastly, bring a stack of napkins on your way to the table: According to Conlon, there's only one correct way to eat this meal, and it starts with forgoing the utensils and diving in with your hands.

Get tickets to a special one-night event on Tuesday, October 2, featuring a prix fixe tasting menu from Conlon: Click this link and enter the code TASTING TABLE in the special requests section after completing your reservation.

Chilli Prawns

Reprinted with permission from 'The Adventures of Fat Rice,' by Abraham Conlon, Adrienne Lo and Hugh Amano, copyright © 2016. Photography by Dan Goldberg. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

Yield: Makes 8 prawns, serves 4 to 6 as a starter

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Garlic-Chilli Stuffing:

2 tablespoons fermented black beans, minced

¼ cup seeded and minced fresh red chillies or sambal oelek

6 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons minced cilantro stems

For the Prawns:

8 U-10 prawns, heads and shells on, thawed

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the Optional Garnish:

Small handful Portuguese olives

Small handful horse ear-cut green onions, green parts only

1 lemon, cut into wedges and dipped in Korean chilli flakes

Directions

1. To make the stuffing, combine the fermented black beans, chillies, garlic, and cilantro stems in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

2. Using a razor blade or kitchen shears, cut through the shell and flesh of each prawn along the back about halfway deep, starting at the base of the head through a quarter of the way from the tip of the tail. Remove the vein running along the back using the edge of the razor or shears and discard. Fill the space you just cleaned on each prawn with the stuffing. 

3. Heat a large pan with a lid over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is almost smoking, carefully lay the prawns in the oil and cook until the shell starts to brown and the flesh starts to turn pink, about 1 minute. Flip the prawns and cook for another minute, browning the other side. Carefully add the wine to the pan—it will spatter—and immediately cover with the lid. Steam the prawns until completely pink and fully cooked, about 4 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the prawns to a serving dish. Add the butter to the pan and swirl until melted by the heat remaining in the pan. Pour the sauce over the prawns. Garnish with the olives, green onions, and lemon and serve immediately.

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