A prawn on the barbie screams Australia. I love the flavour a slightly charred shell gives and I especially enjoy the extra flavour you get from all the goodness found in a prawn head. This recipe can be just as easily done on a barbecue or chargrilled on your stove. Preparing prawns this way can be a little fiddly, but it’s worth it as the shell protects the flesh and, once cooked, it’s very easy to get to all the succulent meat.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (3 votes)


  • 12 green king prawns
  • 80 g butter
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp spiced honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and white pepper


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To prepare your prawns, get some scissors and carefully cut up the shell, along the back, in a shallow manner, starting from the tail. Once you reach the head, keep cutting in half, but go in a little deeper. Use a small knife to remove the intestine line. Then use a sharp knife to gently butterfly the prawn along the back from top to bottom. Once you’ve done this, you should be able to open out the prawn shell, so it sits flat in half with its head split open. Rub a little oil all over your prawn and season.

In a small hot pan, add your butter, a little salt and the capers. Cook, swirling occasionally until the capers start to pop and sizzle, and the butter starts to brown. Add in the honey, stir and bring it to the boil. Let it simmer for a minute or so before adding in the lemon juice, giving it another little swirl and remove from the heat. Keep your pan somewhere warm.

Meanwhile, you should have your barbecue or grill nice and hot. Place your prawns on it, shell down, and use a pastry brush to rub the prawn flesh with your honey mix. The prawns should only take about 2 minutes to cook. As you take them off the grill, let them sit a moment flesh down in your pan of honey, so they can suck up some extra flavour.

Serve on a large platter with the remaining honey and caper mix poured over.


• You can also do this dish by laying out the prawns on a baking dish in a single layer, pouring the honey mix straight on top and roasting them in a hot oven or under a grill for a couple of minutes.


Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Suresh Watson.

Sunhachi clay bowl with green glaze (honey dressing) from Ginkgo Leaf. Prawns from Cleanfish Australia, 10 Baker St, Banksmeadow, NSW.


For a taste of O Tama Carey’s cooking, visit her at Berta restaurant in Sydney. Like Berta on Facebook, and follow the restaurant on Twitter and Instagram.


Read our interview with Tama. This recipe is from our online column, The seasonal Cook: Prawns. View previous The Seasonal Cook columns and recipes.