Butter Prawns

(Photo by byte/Flickr)
(Photo by byte/Flickr)

The Portuguese influence apparent in Malacca has also spread to other parts of Malaysia, as evidenced by the use of butter in certain dishes.

Serves 3-4.


375 g/12 oz fresh prawns
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup peanut oil for deep frying
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
sprig of fresh curry leaves, stripped from stem
2 hot green chillies, sliced
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
60 ml/2 fl oz evaporated milk or pouring cream


Remove and discard hard shell from heads of prawns. Split shell down the back with scissors and lift out vein. Wash the prawns and roll in paper towels to dry exceedingly well or they will spatter when fried.

Heat oil in a wok until almost smoking and deep fry the prawns very quickly for only 1 minute. Pour prawns and oil into a sieve over a metal bowl. Return wok to heat, add ghee and a tablespoon of the oil in which the prawns were fried and sizzle the curry leaves, green chillies and garlic for a few seconds. Return prawns, sprinkle over them the sugar, pepper and salt and stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir in the evaporated milk or cream and serve at once, with steamed rice.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)