Chef's Recipes

Crisp school prawns sautéed with chilli and garlic

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for crisp school prawns sautéed with chilli and garlic.

By Andrew McConnell
  • Serves 6
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Crisp school prawns sautéed with chilli and garlic
This recipe was originally inspired by Jeffrey Steingarten's book The Man Who Ate Everything. The amount of chilli suggested here gives the prawns a subtle tang. Feel free to add more chilli or replace the long red chilli with small hot birdseye chillies for more kick. Glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour are available from Asian grocery shops. I prefer to serve these on a flat plate, as when served in a deep bowl they tend to sweat in their own heat and become sodden.


  • 100 gm salt
  • 500 gm school prawns
  • 75 gm cornflour
  • 75 gm glutinous rice flour
  • 75 gm tapioca flour
  • For deep-frying: 1 litre vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dry apera (sherry)
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced


  • 1
    Add 100gm salt to a litre of cold water and stir until dissolved. Add prawns to brine and leave for 10 minutes, then strain prawns (discarding the brine) and pat dry with a clean tea towel.
  • 2
    Thoroughly combine all the flours. Pass through a sieve into a bowl to remove any lumps. Toss prawns in flour to lightly coat, shaking off any excess flour in a sieve.
  • 3
    Pour vegetable oil into a deep saucepan and heat to 180C. (If you don’t have a thermometer, test temperature of oil by adding a couple of prawns; they should take about 90 seconds to become crisp and golden.) Deep-fry prawns in small batches, a handful at a time, for about 90 seconds until crisp and golden (be careful as hot oil will spit). Remove prawns as they are cooked and drain on absorbent towel.
  • 4
    When all prawns are almost done, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and sauté garlic and chilli until garlic becomes aromatic and just starts to colour. Add cooked prawns to pan, followed by sherry – once sherry is added, it is important to work quickly. Vigorously toss prawns, coating them evenly with garlic and chilli, and cook for a minute over high heat until sherry has evaporated. Finally add spring onion and season prawns with a touch of salt if needed. Tip prawns straight from pan onto absorbent towel to absorb any excess oil.
  • 5
    Transfer prawns onto a platter and serve immediately.


Note Cumulus Inc. by Andrew McConnell is published by Penguin Lantern ($59.95, hbk). This extract has been reproduced with minor GT style changes. This recipe is from the November 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

  • Author: Andrew McConnell