In Vietnam we fry the prawns with all the shell, head and legs adding a wonderful crispy texture to the finished dish. You could trim off the legs if you like but I urge you to give it a go. The salt, pepper and five spice seasoning works well with all seafood - squid is a good variation.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (89 votes)


2 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp sugar
500 ml vegetable oil, plus extra for pan frying
6 jumbo prawns, trim tip of the head and legs (optional)
2 cups corn flour or potato starch
1 tbsp finely diced red Asian shallot
1 tbsp finely diced garlic
2 chillies, sliced
4 spring onions, sliced into 4 cm pieces
1 lime, quartered

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.


Dry roast the salt, pepper & five spice pepper in a pan. Remove, allow to cool, combine with sugar and mix well. Set aside.

In a deep fry pan or wok, bring oil to 180°C.

Dust the prawns with flour and fry 2 prawns at a time to keep the oil at a constant high heat. Fry for 1 minute or until prawns are just cooked. Remove the prawns and place on kitchen paper to absorb the oil. Repeat with remaining prawns.

Bring a fry pan to medium heat, add a little of the oil from deep frying, red shallots, garlic, chilli and spring onion and cook until fragrant. Now add prawns, tossing as you sprinkle the salt, pepper and five spice mix, making sure you coat the prawns well.

Remove the prawns and serve with lime.