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Lemongrass and chilli prawns

Serves   4
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins

I love prawns with the flavours of lemongrass, ginger and fish sauce. This marinade is also ideal for scallops.





  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 2-3 teaspoons chilli paste or 2
  • teaspoon sambal oelek
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 shallot, peeled (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped
  • coriander
  • Grated rind and juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 500 grams unshelled whole raw
  • prawns or 350 grams shelled raw
  • prawn cutlets


  1. Cut the white part from the lemongrass, setting the long green stem aside to flavour stocks or a pot of tea. Cut out the tough core from the white part. Tear the coarse centre vein from the kaffir lime leaves.
  2. In a mini food processor, put the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilli paste, ginger, shallot if using, coriander, lime rind and juice and fish sauce. Process to a paste.
  3. Toss the prawns in this mixture in a sealable bag; refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. Barbecue prawns on a lightly oiled hot barbecue plate. Alternatively, pan-fry in a hot frying pan for 7-10 minutes, turning once, or until the prawns turn a gentle salmon-pink and are cooked through. Drizzle with ever such a little sesame oil if wished before serving.

Prepare a simple noodle salad with glass noodles, diced red and green chillies, and a few rocket, mint and celery leaves. Dress with your favourite vinaigrette scented with sweet chilli sauce and a dash of fish sauce. 

Real tips

Cooking time will vary a little between shelled and unshelled prawns. Prawns are cooked when they turn a gentle pink colour.

Prepared minced chillies will vary in taste and heat depending on the brand you buy. Use a light hand when measuring as you can always add more chilli at the table if wished.