Butter Prawn

Butter Prawn Recipe - buttery, salty, sweet, spicy, and garlicky working off one another seamlessly and perfectly in this recipe | rasamalaysia.com


Butter Prawn Recipe - buttery, salty, sweet, spicy, and garlicky working off one another seamlessly and perfectly in this recipe | rasamalaysia.com

Butter Prawn

Butter Prawn Recipe – buttery, salty, sweet, spicy, and garlicky working off one another seamlessly and perfectly in this recipe


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.”

Butter Prawn Recipe - buttery, salty, sweet, spicy, and garlicky working off one another seamlessly and perfectly in this recipe | rasamalaysia.com

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.


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  1. er… is butter prawns new? i thought i thought it is quite an old dish. i had try it many times before and yes, i love the kerisik and curry leaves – will sapu them all.

    next, bee yinn, you should show us how to made nestum prawns. they are just as good as butter prawns.

  2. oops. above comment was by me. auto fill came out with only ‘l’ and i didn’t realise it. :)

  3. Passionate Eater says:

    This is the second time this week that I’ve wept openly while looking at your blog. First, it was because of the shrimp wontons. Rasa Malaysia, you really are a master chef! The crispy little bits do look killer!

  4. The curry leaves are soooooo expensive in the Bay Area.

    No joke. After you’ve done your steamed tofu (I was going to do that too), this Butter Prawns dish is also lined up on my cooking list as I’ve got so much curry leaves left. And I cannot waste them since they’re sooo…expensive. $14.99/lb at 99Ranch!!!

    • If there is a Lee Lee’s Asian grocery store in or close to your city, go there. They have everything you need from Indian to Thai ingredients. I purchase from Lee Lee’s every week. They have fresh Blue Crab; fresh Tilapia in Tanks, the best Short Ribs, thinly sliced Eye of Round, fresh chicken, the freshest veggies, Mint leaves in bundles, Curry leaves in bundles, (it’s amazing). They also have Filet Mignon in one piece. It’s not Choice but it’s Select brand; and great for Asian food.
      Good Luck.

  5. looks very yummy! great for a first time.
    only maybe not dry enough?

  6. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Lucia – Nestum prawns, sure no problem but there is no nestum herre…can send some to me?!

    By the way, I didn’t mean the dish to be new new, but I remember this dish started showing up when I was in high school, but I guess you are right…it was a loooooooong time ago when I was in high school. :P

    PE – You are too sweet. OK, is there an Iron Chef Asian food version? I can enter and you will be the judge. ;)

    Tigerfish – oh well, I hear you, but they are very light, so we don’t need 1 lb of them. Will check out your butter prawns when you are try this recipe.

    Lyn – are they supposed to be drier? I haven’t had this in a long time and I can’t remember…I guess you are right…mine was a little “wet.” Will have to order this dish the next time I go home.

  7. Hi, I happened to stumble upon your blog while finding a mee goreng recipe! Boy, was I glad to know of your website :) The food pics all look wonderful & definitely, I will try

  8. I will try out this butter prawns recipe soon, it looks real delicious!

  9. Hi, this is my first time visiting your blog and I love it! Totally coming back :)

  10. Yummy! They look so nice. I gotta figure out a way to pass this recipe to Suanne.

  11. Hi RM:

    Those butter prawns sure look yummy. I wonder where did you get those curry leaves?. I am staying in Monterey Park and don’t seem to find it in any of those Chinese markets, not even in 99 Ranch.

  12. Your picture always looks amazing. May I ask what camera you’re using?

  13. Hahah…I don’t get a pound but that also means the smallest pack of leaves is goin’ to be expensive too. I chose the smallest, lightest pack!And it is still more expensive than boy choy, bean sprouts, etc…

  14. Dr ve Thru says:

    One of my favourites. Sadly, fresh curry leaves are hard to come by here. :(

  15. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Linnish – thanks to the search engine and welcome to Rasa Malaysia. Do leave me more comments in the future. :)

    Stephanie – thanks for visiting my blog and I appreciate your kind comment. Do pop in more often. :)

    Ben – I hope Suanne will love this dish.

    Anonymous – yes, you can get these curry leaves at 99 Ranch. I got mine at the 99 Ranch here in Irvine. They are seasonal though but it showed up in the market last week and I was so happy!

    Hakkahouse – thanks and I am happy that you like my pictures. I use Canon Powershot SD450 Digital Elph point-and-shoot. The trick of using the camera is to change the mode to “Macro.”

    Tigerfish – I chose the smallest and lightest pack too and now I am stuck with the leftovers. I put them in the freezer and obviously it doesn’t do good to the leaves, now they are brown.

    Dr. Ve Thru – yeah, I can understand the frustration of not finding rare Malaysian ingredients. You should move to California. ;)

  16. My curry leaves are still sitting in the chiller section and I’ve yet to check how they are doing. Oh no!
    I will line-up butter prawns if the curry leaves survive. For now, I’ve done the steamed tofu dish.

  17. yr prawns have amazing golden color, which means xraordinary crispiness. This is one of my fav prawn dishes

  18. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Tonixe – I think the color is because of the prawn variety I get here…I was looking at them the other day and wondered why they were so “orange” and “golden.” But yes, they were crispy too.

  19. Hakka House says:

    I have the exact same camera, but your pictures are definitely better. How do you deal with lighting at night?

  20. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Hakka house – I don’t usually take pictures at night, I sually take them during day time when there is plenty of natural sun light. If I take it at night in my kitchen under Tungsten light, then I set my setting to Tungsten. Hope this helps.

  21. Keropok Man says:

    hmmm mum’s place had curry leaves, serai, all the different different dauns in her garden.

    then when we are not staying at home, even pandan leaves have to go and buy. sigh. took things for granted. but good thing, all these are available at the wet market or supermarkets. *big grin*

    you really want nestum posted over? haha…

  22. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Yes, Keropok Man, send them over please. :)

  23. Looks so yummy. Send me some, please

  24. Anonymous says:

    Well done dishes of udang are always a treat for our eyes! I loved your presentation!

    All the best & was happy to see your Blog briging out the best of Malaysia!

    Miss Cerritos!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I am just back from a business trip to Malaysia and Singapore. My colleagues there introduced me to a dished called buttered prawns, (then we had the same preperation with soft shell crabs and lobster at other restaurants. It had the curry leaves, but the main thing was a straw-like crunchy buttery shredded covering on the seafood. It was incredible. Do you know of this? How to make it? Thanks!

  26. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Foodlvr – OK, I will email them to you the next time I cook.

    Miss Cerritos – thanks for your nice comments. Yes, my purpose is to make more people know about our beautiful Malaysian cuisine. ;)

    Anonymous – those crunchy bit are egg yolks poured through a sieve and fried in the butter sauce. I love them too. I will try making that topping the next time. :)

  27. I discover your blog thanks to a comment you left at Claude Olivier’s…
    Your pictures are beautiful, the recipes terrific…
    Those butter prawns are sooo yummy… and the way you describe the taste of those brown bits…. I’m drooling… :-)

  28. Tricia Lee-Chin says:

    Hi RM – You should get a curry leave plant. Go to Little India, it’s close to you … in O.C.

    When I was living in CA that’s what I did. When I first got it it was a 3 inch plant. Within a year it grew to 4 Feet!

    Another one that grows well is Kiffir Lime Leaves. I got mine at a nursery in El Monte.

  29. Made this tonight! Almost – I shelled my shrimp and stir-fried them in at the end instead of deep-frying them in advance, just as a matter of convenience, mostly.

    It is fantastic! Thank you for posting the recipe. We’ll definitely be making it again.

  30. I have tried to cook this dishes.Gorgeous. How abt cook cheese prawn next time. I dont have original recepi but i have some ideas to cook it. I tried before and my friends like it very much.
    Fresh Prawn , butter, egg york, cheese , milk, sugar, garlic and onion.
    Melt the butter for few seconds, then fry the onions and garlic for one to two minutes.
    Add cheese, milk,egg york and sugar and stir it frequently ( remember low heat). Stir until it looks fragnant and golden brown.
    I seldom deep fried the prawn. I just put the prawn in the wok and cover it for 10-20 minutes.( Like TRADITIONAL SALTED-BAKED CHICKEN 鹽焗雞)
    Seafood always contain a bit salty taste and wet. Thats why i dint do anything on the prawn. I hope to have something more original like we have steam prawn in many seafood restaurant.
    Pls try it or may be u can post your recepi. I will like to try the original taste.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Tried the butter prawns …YUMMY. Will try the version with egg yolk and corn flour next.

    Wonder if any one has a recipe for the rice parcel(pyramid) wraapped in lotus leave. I’d probbably need to know how to wrap it as well

  32. wenwenzz says:

    Hi Rasa Malaysia, thanks for sharing the recipe. Very simple and I love it! Except one ingredient – grated coconut? Hmm can I omit this?

  33. Malaysian Hokkien says:

    alamat sedapnya Rasa Malaysia. Guah Hokkien dari Malaysia, chichun lives in Australia, siaudiam roti canai kah beh heau kong.

    gua eat roti canai with theng pun, bukan main sedap. Chao.

  34. SteamyKitchen says:

    making these tonight!!!!

  35. Azian Hasan says:

    Hi Rasa Malaysia,
    Your ‘butter prawn’, looks so simple and yummy. It is so different from the recipe that my friend gave me.Bye

  36. Dear Rasa Malaysia,

    I came across your blog only today! Please please let us know of the egg yolk & butter sauce thingy. I LOVE them too.

    To others: aside from prawn, you can also replace with chicken fillets.

    Come back and update us on the egg yolk & butter sauce quick, ok!


  37. Anonymous says:

    Just a wee suggestion on how to mantain the curry leaves…strip leaves off the sprigs and put them into any curry pwdr. Mix them up evenly, store in a glass jar. Will keep in fridge indefinitely. Good suggestion abt getting curry leaves from Little India..I got a pkg there for 99c!!

  38. wow!!
    This is a dish which i can make at home and definetly will…
    so what do i use instead of chinese cooking wine which is not available here..
    you have a great great blog which i love to read and see the pictures, can you suggest some books which tell me about malaysian,singapore or thailand food culture and also the recipes as most of the books have more recipes and less reading matter but i want books which have the reverse. can you suggest something for me .

  39. This is a wonderful find – both your blog AND this recipe! I fell in love with this dish in Kuching several years ago. I searched for a long time for a recipe and have found few. This one looks great! Though I do wonder about one comment that suggests it is a bit too wet. I remember part of the fascination of the butter prawns was how dry they were. Could hardly be called a “sauce”. Anyway, thanks for sharing this – I will be trying it soon!

  40. Anonymous says:


    I’ve tried your butter prawn and it’s so yummy..Thanks a lot.

    Vivi of Melbourne

  41. Found your blog while blog-hopping. That butter prawn looks yummy! Makes me want to make them now. Im going to give your butter prawn recipe a try.

  42. Thats crap and you know it. This is not the real version of butter prawns. The real thing uses milk instead of coconut.

  43. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Anonymous – there are many different variations of butter prawn recipe available and mine is just one of the variations. This recipe has been featured on TV and to say it’s crap just shows that you’re so narrow-minded when it comes to the possibilities of food. Pity.

  44. Hi Rasa Malaysia, it deosn’t intended that just copying your post here because I have been in Malaysia for two years and I surf the food that I like and I found your butter prawn recipe in google, because I would love to try on. Don’t think that I am just having my blog to just copy anybody’s post food blog cause I wasn’t. If you don’t want to have it in my blog I will delete the post and never do it anymore. I am proud you have this blog and I don’t mind if they copy my recipe and post in other blog because that’s not even a paid post blog is a recipe that I copy here. I went to the store after work and buy some big prawn to try, and share what the come out, but since you don’t like the idea copying yours you shouldn’t shared your recipe. Thanks once again for posting your recipe.

  45. As you know I love shrimps as well.

  46. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Lanie –

    If you have deleted the post, that’s fine. Please provide source information and link back in the future.

  47. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Lanie – By the way, you totally missed the point: linking back to original content owner, regardless of whether or not it’s a paid post is a common blogging etiquette because content owners own the IP and copyright of the original content and pictures. You should provide credit when credit is due. Thank you!

  48. hAii should it add cheese? pls reply even u dont know who am i..

  49. Hi Rasa, thanks you as well for understanding my point and sorry, do you mind if I do try your recipe and copy of your recipe and posted in my blog in the future, but it doesnt to be a lot. I didn’t pay attention through your website I was copying from. Please give me your link back so whenever I like your recipe I can link you back as the original owner. Thanks a lot.

  50. YesI did delete the post because I don’t want any trouble. thanks

  51. Yvonne says:

    Rasa Malaysia

    I know you have updated this recipe ages ago, but i just found you, which is very exciting!
    I cant find grated coconut in australia, i have coconut powder, will it do the job? what are the alternatives? Thanks

  52. Dileep & Dinali says:


    We just tried your recipe and it is delicious! Thank you for posting the recipe WITH THE PICTURE and making it short and easy to understand :)

    Thanks again,
    Dileep & Dinali

  53. Gosh this is really food porn! hahaha! I have tried your recipes (kung pao shrimp and chicken, and malaysian curry chicken so far) and I absolutely love them! My aim is to learn a new recipe every week….

    Butter prawns looks sinfully delicious…hahaha! Might be next on my list!

  54. This is HEAVEN! and it’s easy and fast… I’m staying in Denmark so imagine how great it was to make and eat this…

  55. Wonderful recipe! Thanks

  56. I made this for dinner tonight and my husband and I love it so much that 1 pound of large shrimp isn’t enough! Can’t wait to make more next time..thanks!

  57. hi,i really love this food when ive worked in brunei 10 years ago.can i use dessicated coconut?thanks in advance.

  58. Hi, I had a great recipe 20 years ago for “curry prawns cooked with Tempoyak” once but have since lost it when I moved house. Is there anyway that I can get the recipe again (and I promise I wont ever lose it again)?

  59. This recipe is really great I love the prawns,just tried it.

  60. Freddie Gutierrez says:

    Made this on Sunday and man was it good!

  61. hallo bee….just would like to ask what i could substitute for curry leaves? thanks! i super love the vietnamese beef :) its always a hit!! thanks so much!

  62. Larry Tay says:

    Thanks i am from Singapore, i have seem yr butter prawns
    recipe, it easy and simple to cook, thanks hope u will
    provide more recipes in future

  63. Hi,
    Is the soy sauce the dark soy sauce or light soy sauce?

  64. The easiest and tastiest prawn recipe I have ever done. Thanks very much.

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