Chili Garlic Prawns

Chili Garlic Prawns

Easy chilli prawns with bold sweet and savoury flavours. This stir-fry dish has a tangy and garlicky sauce which makes it more delicious when paired with Chinese fried rice.

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Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 10 mins


Chinese Chilli Prawns, Chilli Garlic Prawns


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Nutrition per Serving

226 kcal
20 g
14 g
6 g

Chilli garlic prawns is the perfect simple Asian dish to make if you want a quick meal. Coated with a velvety sauce, each bite exudes a mild garlic flavour which is so delectable. This is the best chilli prawn recipe you’ll find online.

Luscious Chilli Garlic Sauce on Prawns
Luscious Chilli Garlic Sauce on Prawns

Although it may be a common Chinese dish in Singaporean, Malaysian or even Filipino restaurants, it is quite often served at home. I grew up loving this dish for its piquant and yet sweet taste. Pair it with a simple fried rice, it leaves you craving for more!

Best Combination with Fried Rice
Best Combination with Fried Rice

Why This Recipe?

This recipe uses simple ingredients that are available in most households. There is no need to marinate making the recipe quick to prepare.

There is also no need for deep-frying. After the prawns are deveined, they are slightly butterflied. This allows the crust created from Step 3 to trap the delicious sauce. Every mouthful is then guaranteed to be simply delicious.

Beautifully Seared Prawns To Create Crust
Beautifully Seared Prawns To Create Crust

Can I Use Frozen Prawns?

Of course! Just choose large prawns for best juicy bites.

Fresh Tiger Prawn
Fresh Tiger Prawn

To ensure that the prawns are properly thawed, it is best to thaw them overnight in the refrigerator.

To thaw prawns quickly, place the prawns under running water for a few minutes. Use cold water with this method. Avoid warm water or the prawns might be cooked on the outside.

Tomato Sauce Instead Of Ketchup

Ketchup in Chinese Red Sauce
Ketchup in Chinese Red Sauce
Believe it or not, ketchup is a popular condiment when it comes to making tomato based dishes. You can, however, replace it with tomato sauce or pureed tomato for this dish.

However, they aren’t as sweet or tangy as ketchup. Adapt accordingly by adding a bit of sugar and even vinegar for more tartness.

Tip For Flavourful Chilli Prawn Sauce

The sauce or gravy is the key to the dish. There are a few things you can do to ensure the best taste.

  1. For an intense flavour of prawns, add prawn shells and heads to sauté in step 5. This method can also be used in another dish such as prawn mee or prawn bisque.
  2. The perfect sauce is when it is thick. Add cornstarch slurry to simmering sauce to thicken it. However, note that the sauce thickens further as it cools down. Add more if needed. The golden ratio of cornstarch and water is 2:1.
    Leftover Cornstarch Slurry From Marinating Prawns
    Leftover Cornstarch Slurry From Marinating Prawns
  3. Tanginess is an important flavour node. Never skip it. Any vinegar will do. Apple cider, white vinegar or even balsamic vinegar.
  4. Honey can be replaced with a sweetener of your choice, including brown or white sugar.

Turn Into A One-Pan Meal

This dish can be a great one-pan meal by adding vegetables such as carrots, capsicum or even peas. Shiitake mushrooms will work really well with this dish too.

If you don’t prefer rice, replace it with some noodles. It works well with spaghetti or fettuccine too. Think of it as a tomato pasta dish with an Asian twist.

Otherwise, enjoy it with some bread. I also highly recommend freezing the extra gravy, if any, for a later meal.


1⁄2 tsp
1⁄4 tsp
white pepper
1 1⁄2 tsp
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
1 tbsp
2 tsp
0.67 cup
garlic clove(s)
Spring onion, chopped Optional

Steps to Prepare

Chili Garlic Prawns Step 1

Step 1 of 7

    • 10 prawns

Remove the shells of the prawns and devein them. Rinse and set aside.

Chili Garlic Prawns Step 2

Step 2 of 7

    • 1⁄4 tsp salt
    • 1⁄4 tsp white pepper
    • 1 1⁄2 tsp cornstarch

Marinate the cleaned prawns with salt and white pepper followed by cornstarch. Mix until the cornstarch coats the prawns evenly.

Chili Garlic Prawns Step 3

Step 3 of 7

    • 2 tbsp oil

Heat up a pan over medium to high heat. Add some oil. Once the oil is hot, sear the prawns for 30-40 secs on each side. Once browned on the surface, remove the prawns from pan. Keep the starchy liquid from the prawn marinade to thicken the sauce later.

Chili Garlic Prawns Step 4

Step 4 of 7

    • 2 tbsp sriracha
    • 2 tbsp ketchup
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 2 tsp vinegar
    • 0.67 cup water
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt Optional

To make the sauce, combine sriracha, ketchup, honey, vinegar and water. Mix evenly. Taste to see if additional salt is needed.

Chili Garlic Prawns Step 5

Step 5 of 7

    • 2 garlic clove(s)
    • 1⁄2 onion

Using the same pan, add minced garlic and chopped onions. Sauté over medium heat for 1 minute or till they start to turn golden brown.

Chili Garlic Prawns Step 6

Step 6 of 7

Pour in the sauce. Allow it to simmer for 1-2 minutes on medium to low heat. Then, add the starchy liquid from the prawn marinade to thicken the sauce.

Chili Garlic Prawns Step 7

Step 7 of 7

    • Spring onion, chopped Optional

Add in the seared prawns. Mix to coat prawns evenly with sauce. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle with some chopped spring onions for garnish.

Published: June 3, 2023

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