Turmeric prawns

A typical southern Thai method of cooking prawns, with a great combination of crunchy, spicy and earthy flavours.

  • Preparation time: 35 minutes, plus marinating
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes, plus marinating

Serves: 4


• 16 large raw prawns, peeled and deveined
• 6 lemongrass stalks
• approx 100ml vegetable oil, for shallow frying

Spice Paste
• 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
• ¾ tsp ground turmeric
• ½ tbsp coarse sea salt
• 10 turns of a pepper mill
• 2 pinches caster sugar

Dipping Sauce
• 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
• 1 large red chilli, roughly chopped
• handful coriander stalks, roughly chopped
• 1 tsp finely grated ginger
• 40ml soy sauce
• 3-4 tsp caster sugar
• 1 tbsp lime juice


1. Blend all of the paste ingredients together in a small blender, food processor or pestle and mortar to a smooth consistency. Marinate the prawns in the paste and chill for at least 30 minutes (or ideally overnight).

2. Meanwhile, cut each lemongrass stalk diagonally into 3 pieces, with an angled end to each piece. Skewer each prawn with a piece of the lemongrass, making sure both ends are pierced. If you’re struggling to push the lemongrass through, make a small incision in the prawn with a knife first.

3. For the dipping sauce, use a pestle and mortar to crush the garlic, chilli, coriander and ginger together to a fine consistency. Scoop into a serving dish and mix in the soy, sugar, lime juice and 2 tsp water.

4. To cook, heat the oil in a pan until very hot. Add the skewered prawns in batches of 5-6 (so as to not overcrowd the pan), making sure the oil covers the prawns, and fry for about 1-2 minutes on high heat, until cooked through. Serve the prawns with the dipping sauce, allowing guests to slide them off the skewers to eat.