Twice-cooked sambal tiger prawns

Twice-cooked sambal tiger prawns

Chinese Unchopped
20 mins
Cooking time
10 mins
Martin Poole

Cooking a dish like this perfectly is a little step up from just deep-frying some prawns and throwing a sauce on top. The deep-fry at the beginning of this double-cooking process acts as a gentle blanch in hot oil that seals the prawns lightly, allowing the sauce to seep through the air pockets within the meat and shells and leaving a sensational flavour on your palate.


Quantity Ingredient
10 thai shallots, peeled
a thumb-size piece ginger
a large handful coriander
1 medium tomato
5 dried red chillies
500g uncooked large tiger prawns, shells on and deveined, (see note)
2 tablespoons cornflour
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for frying

The sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon sambal sauce or sambal paste
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
100ml chicken or fish stock


  1. Finely slice the Thai shallots and ginger. Roughly chop the coriander. Cut the tomato into eighths.
  2. Put the dried red chillies in a small bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak for 5 minutes, then drain and roughly chop.
  3. Mix the sauce ingredients together in another small bowl.
  4. Butterfly the prawns, keeping the shells intact by cutting a line from underneath the head of the prawn to the tip of the tail using a sharp knife or scissors and opening up the prawn fully. Put the prawns in a bowl, cover with the cornflour and season with salt and pepper. Mix together thoroughly.
  5. BUILD YOUR WOK CLOCK: place your finely sliced shallots at 12 o’clock, then arrange the ginger, red chillies, tomatoes, sauce bowl, prawns and coriander clockwise around your plate.
  6. Half-fill a large pot, wok or deep-fryer with vegetable oil and heat to 165°C, or until the tip of a wooden chopstick or skewer starts to bubble (but not fizz) after 2–3 seconds in the oil. Carefully add the prawns and deep-fry for 2–3 minutes until the prawns are a light coral and the shells are slightly browned. Remove the prawns from the oil and drain well on kitchen paper.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok until smoking. Add the shallots and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute until slightly softened and fragrant. Add the red chillies and tomatoes and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds.
  8. Keeping the heat as high as possible, pour the sauce into the wok and bring to a vigorous boil. Add the prawns, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened and forms a coating around the prawns.
  9. Remove from the heat and scatter over the coriander to finish. Serve.


  • To devein a prawn, use a small, sharp knife to make a slit along the middle of the back to expose the dark vein, then pull it out. Alternatively insert a toothpick roughly three-quarters of the way up the back of the prawn and pull the vein up and out of the prawn.


  • Peeling Thai shallots can be quite cumbersome. To make life easier, simply soak the shallots in hot water for 2–3 minutes, then cut them in half and peel off the outer layer.
School of Wok
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