Butter Prawn is a relatively new Malaysian creation–combining the best of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and western ingredients, this is a knockout dish in terms of taste, smell, and presentation.
Other than prawn, the key ingredient of this dish is curry leaf. Highly aromatic in nature, curry leaf is widely used in southern Indian cuisine and Malaysian cuisine. The exotic scent of these dark green leaves saturates coconut milk based curries with rich fragrance and perks up seafood dishes such as Butter Prawn and Black Pepper Crab.
The brown bits in the picture are killer in taste–the toasted kerisik (grated coconut) reveals layer upon layer of complex flavors–buttery, salty, sweet, spicy, and garlicky working off one another seamlessly and perfectly.
This concoction is truly Malaysian and the taste is simply heavenly.
1 lb large prawns
Oil for deep frying
3 tablespoons butter
6 bird’s eye chilies (chopped)
3 sprigs of curry leaves (use only the leaves)
3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (rice wine preferred)
6 tablespoons of grated coconut (dry fried until golden brown)
Leave the prawn heads and shells on but chop off the eyes part. Slit down the back to remove the veins. Pat dry. Heat oil and deep fry the prawns. Drain and set aside.
Melt the butter, add bird’s eye chilies, curry leaves, garlic, salt and fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add prawns, sugar, soy sauce, wine, and grated coconut. Cook over high heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from “The Food of Malaysia: Authentic Recipes from the Crossroads of Asia.”
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