• Sichuan pepper prawns with smoky mayo (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

I like big bowls of food where everybody helps themselves. Those new to this often sit there peeling the prawns, while I tend to rip off the tip of the tail, and if they’re fried hot enough, crunch through the shell and just leave the head, meaning I get more in the same time.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns (see Note), toasted
  • 150 g butter, chopped
  • 2 kg cooked tiger prawns, sliced down back, digestive tracts removed
  • lemon wedges, to serve


Smoky mayo

  • 185 ml (¾ cup) vegetable oil
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

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 make smoky mayo, combine oils in a small jug. Process egg yolks, mustard, vinegar and paprika in food processor until well combined. With the motor running, gradually add oil, drop by drop at first, then in a thin, steady stream until thick and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate until needed or for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind toasted Sichuan peppercorns, 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns and 1 teaspoon of salt until fine, but not a powder.

Melt half the butter in a large wok over high heat. As it foams, add half the spice mixture, quickly stir once, then add half the prawns and toss to coat and sizzle (remember they’re already cooked, so you’re just adding crunch and flavour). Transfer to a large serving platter and repeat with remaining butter, spices and prawns. Serve immediately with smoky mayo and lemon wedges.


• Sichuan peppercorns are from select delis and Asian food shops.



Photography Alan Benson. Food preparation Sadie Chrestman. Styling Michelle Crawford.


As seen in Feast magazine, Dec/Jan 2014, Issue 38.