Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns (Shrimp)

Close up of Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns served over rice with a quick Asian cucumber side salad

A quick prawn recipe loaded with BIG flavours! Seared prawns smothered in a spicy, sticky Asian sauce, these Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns will have you smacking your lips in utter satisfaction, feeling like you’ve just dined at a fancy modern Thai restaurant.

The sauce tastes like a homemade Chilli Jam except it’s far easier to make. 15 minutes, start to finish!

Close up of Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns served over rice with a quick Asian cucumber side salad

Quick prawn recipe with BIG flavours!

This prawn recipe came to be after I had a terrific Stir Fried Prawns in Chilli Jam at a modern(ish) Thai Restaurant. While I can’t replicate desserts at home on a whim, I usually have a fair chance of getting pretty close with savoury dishes.

I was going to try to replicate it using a homemade Chilli Jam recipe, but then I got lazy. Instead, I tried to achieve the same flavours using a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a dash of this and a splash of that.

And well, well, well, what do you know? It came out darn delicious. Really, really tasty and pretty close to making this with a homemade Chilli Jam, but just a whole lot easier and faster. 🙂

Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns - Juicy prawns in a sweet, sticky, spicy, garlicky sauce. Dinner on the table in 10 minutes!

Chilli Garlic Prawns on a plate, ready to be served

The sauce is essentially a quick and easy Chilli Jam – and it’s lip smackingly delish!

I promise I’m not exaggerating when I say that this really does taste like Spicy Stir Fries you get from modern Asian restaurants. I don’t claim this to be authentic Asian because it probably isn’t an authentic Asian stir fry but every ingredient in the sauce is certainly used in many Asian dishes!

Ingredients for Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns (Shrimp) recipe

A 12 minute recipe

There’s nothing more disappointing that shoving a big, plump, juicy-looking prawn in your mouth only to find it’s rubbery and dry.

So in my world, every prawn recipe has to be a quick recipe because otherwise you’ll overcook the prawn! And these Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns certainly fit the bill. Here’s how it goes down:

Chop / grate the ginger and garlic, measure out the sauce ingredients – 5 minutes Sear prawns in 2 batches – 4 minutes Simmer sauce until syrupy – 2 minutes Toss prawns back in – 1 minute Total time – 12 minutes 🙌🏻

TIP: get the rice started first, because that takes longer than this recipe!

How to make Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns (Shrimp)

Close up of sticky Asian spicy garlic shrimp

Frozen prawns – all the way!

For the first couple of years when I started this website, I was a total prawn snob and urged everyone to peel their own prawns, declaring that frozen was just not the same. This conclusion was drawn from many years of mediocre frozen prawn experiences in my youth.

It’s been a very pleasant discovery to find that frozen prawns have come a long way in their time! Sure, some are better than others, but even the budget ones (eg Aldi, Costco) are still very good.

I still peel fresh prawns for company. But for everyday purposes, I’m all about frozen prawns nowadays – and I totally own it! – Nagi x

Try these on the side Cucumber chunks tossed with Asian Sesame Dressing sprinkled with coriander/cilantro (pictured) Asian Sesame Dressing drizzled ove leafy greens, tomato wedges or cherry tomatoes Asian Slaw – terrifically fresh and crunchy! Restaurant Style Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce – or use any steamed Asian greens, green beans or snow peas

Prawn recipe with Thai Chilli Jam

Watch how to make it


Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns (Shrimp)

Recipe video above. Juicy prawns / shrimp in a sweet sticky, spicy, garlicky sauce. A quick dinner that tastes like a homemade Chilli Jam stir fry you get at modern Thai restaurants! Spice level – this is quite spicy!

500g / 1 lb prawns / shrimp (, peeled and deveined (Note 1)) 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil ((or canola)) 1 tsp sesame oil 3 garlic cloves (, very finely minced) 2 tsp ginger (, grated or finely chopped (can be omitted)) 1 tsp chilli flakes* ((Note 2)) 1/2 cup (125 ml) water 3 tbsp Sriracha ((Note 3)) 2 tsp soy sauce (, light or all purpose (Note 4)) 3 tbsp brown sugar ((sub with white)) Garnish (optional) Sesame seeds Green onions (, finely sliced) Red chillies (, finely sliced or chopped)

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add half the prawns and sear for about 45 seconds on each side until golden, then remove into bowl. Repeat.

Remove skillet from stove to cool down slightly, turn down to medium.

Return skillet to stove, heat sesame oil. 

Add garlic, ginger and chilli flakes. Cook until garlic turns golden.

Add water, then Sriracha, soy sauce and sugar, Stir, increase heat to medium high, and let it simmer for 3 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken to a thin syrup consistency.

Return prawns into skillet and toss to coat in sauce and reheat, and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until sauce is reduced and coats the prawns nicely.

Garnish with sesame seeds, fresh chilli and shallots if desired. Serve with rice to soak up the awesome sauce! Side salad suggestions in post.

🔥SPICINESS – Adjust spiciness to taste with chilli flakes not Sriracha because the sauce needs the vinegar in the Sriracha.

1. Prawns/shrimp – if using frozen (which I do), thaw completely and pat with paper towels to remove excess water.

2. Chilli flakes – also known as Red Pepper Flakes. You could also use a jar of minced chilli or chilli paste but do not try to saute it with the garlic because it will spit everywhere! Stir it in when you add the water. 

3. Sriracha is an Asian chilli sauce that is made with more than just chilli, it has flavourings. It is now common in most supermarkets in Australia, US, Canada and UK. Here is the one I use from Woolworths. You can substitute with another hot sauce, even Frank’s!

4. How to tell if prawns are cooked: Raw prawns hang straight by the trail, perfectly cooked prawns form a “C” and overcooked prawns will curl into a tight “O”. Overcooked prawns have a rubbery texture and are not nice – so don’t do it! 🙂

5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 3 servings. I think this makes enough for 3 as a meal, though can stretch to 4.


Originally published July 2016. Rewritten in May 2019, new photos, brand new video, and new Life of Dozer photos!

Life of Dozer

Another snap from the Mother’s Day weekend away to Rick Stein’s Bannisters Hotel in Port Stephens.

Contemplating the meaning of life as he gazes at the sun rise over the infinity pool….

OK, we all know that’s not true. He’s more likely wondering how much trouble he’d get in if he dove in. I don’t think the other hotel guests would appreciate swimming in a sea of Dozer’s golden fur! 😂

Dozer Bannisters Port Stephens May 2019

And from the original publish date in 2016: The vet said to figure out a way to stop him from licking his injured paw. So I did. 😉


If you enjoyed my Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns (Shrimp), I think you’ll LOVE……

My Mongolian Beef – crispy beef tossed in a fabulous sticky sauce!

Crispy Sticky Mongolian Beef - PF Chang's copycat, done right! Less oil, all the flavor and not stickly sweet. Easy!

My Asian Glazed Salmon with a glorious sticky glaze!

Asian Glazed Salmon | Made this last week, super for a quick midweek meal, INCREDIBLE flavour with just 5 ingredients!

Or to serve on the side, how about Chinese Fried Rice?

Chinese Fried Rice - A recipe for those who want Chinese Fried Rice that really does taste like what you get at restaurants..


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