Perfectly cooked prawns coated with lime browned butter with a drizzle of sweet soy sauce. The flavour combination of this Asian Grilled Shrimp is magical. Whether you make this on your BBQ or on the stove, this tastes so good, it’s like something you’d get at a fancy restaurant – and in fact, is a copycat of a dish from a great Sydney restaurant called Esther. This is easy gourmet cooking at its best!
Browned butter and sweet soy sauce. It is a combination made in heaven, one that you may not have thought of but I hope you try it at least once because it is magical!
Sweet soy sauce – otherwise known as Kecap Manis – is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce which is available at major supermarkets (Woolworths and Coles in Australia) OR you can easily make with just soy sauce and sugar. It has a thick syrup type consistency and I think of it as the Asian equivalent of caramelised balsamic vinegar.
You know how you drizzle just a touch of balsamic vinegar syrup on caprese (tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil) and it miraculously takes it from blah to out-of-this-world-phenomenal?
That’s what kecap manis does in this. 🙂
THIS being prawns / shrimp with browned butter and drizzled with kecap manis. 😉
I was flopping back and forth indecisively about what to call this. Because it doesn’t specifically taste Asian per se. It would be right at home on the menu of fancy Western restaurants as it would be at modern Asian restaurants.
Also, I personally cannot think of any well known Asian dishes made with browned butter!
Then I thought, stuff it. I can call this what I want! This is my invention, so I get naming rights. Asian it is!! 🙂
So….how to describe how this tastes?
Here goes my attempt. The browned butter gives this a nutty luxurious flavour, then the kecap manis adds the sweet but with a depth of flavour that can’t be compared to just a sprinkle of sugar. The combination is SO GOOD you will want to have some bread on hand to mop up the leftover sauce on the plate that’s mingled with the juices from the prawns…(Baby Hands Alert!!)
And….exciting news! Woolworths, a fresh food supermarket very well known to Australians, has asked me to share a special Christmas recipe!! Specifically, they didn’t want the usual roast, they wanted something that was reminiscent of my childhood Christmases. Of course, I jumped at that!!!
Migrating to Australia in the early 1980’s meant the food of my youth was somewhat different to that of my friends. And my family Christmas feasts were a far cry from the traditional menus that many are familiar with.
Special meals for our family were Japanese / Asian seafood barbecue feasts. And this Friday, I’m going to be sharing my mother’s signature Miso Marinated Barbecued Side of Salmon which is a sensational EASY centrepiece for an Australian summer Christmas. A million times easier than roast turkey!
The crazy thing? The traditional Japanese marinade for this is just FOUR ingredients. Seriously.
Sitting around a Christmas feast like this would make anyone smile, don’t you think? 🙂
These Asian Barbecue Prawns are part of this feast I’m sharing. Be patient, the recipe for the rest of the scrumptious feast you see above is coming on Friday!
For now, be content with these incredible prawns.
SO crazy good.
– Nagi xx
Whether you make these on your BBQ or in a fry pan, this is a simple but magical combination of ingredients that tastes like something you'd get at a fancy restaurant! Actually, this is a copy of a great dish I had at a restaurant in Sydney called Esther.
The nutty flavour of the browned butter pairs perfectly with a drizzle of sweet soy sauce and the freshness of lime. Add a sprinkle of chili for heat! Keep some bread on hand to mop up the glorious juices.
- 1 lb / 500 g shrimp / prawns (fresh), peeled and deveined (Note 1)
- 2 garlic cloves , crushed
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup salted butter (or 1/3 cup unsalted butter + big pinch of salt)
- 3/4 to 1 tsp tsp sweet soy sauce / kecap manis (Note 2)
- 1 lime , large
- 1 red birds eye chilli , deseeded and finely sliced or chopped
- Cilantro / coriander leaves
Combine shrimp / prawns, garlic and oil in a small bowl, use your fingers to coat then set aside for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a small silver fry pan or saucepan over medium heat. (Note 3)
Heat until it starts to foam, then swirl the pan occasionally to distribute heat evenly.
Cook until the butter turns golden, smells nutty and there are brown specks at the bottom (you might need a teaspoon to push the foam aside).
Remove from heat immediately. Pour into a jug, leaving behind most of the bitter brown specks (I strained it - because I was making an effort!).
Set aside until required.
Heat the BBQ or fry pan over high heat (no oil).
Add prawns / shrimp and cook until each side is lightly golden brown, but be sure not to overcook! (Note 4)
Place prawns in a bowl. Grate over the zest of a lime, then cut the lime in half and squeeze over about 1 tbsp of lime juice. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of browned butter, toss gently.
Transfer to a plate. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of browned butter then lastly, drizzle over kecap manis, using as thin a stream as you can.
Serve immediately, garnished with chilli and cilantro/coriander, if using.
1. This recipe is best suited to fresh prawns, not frozen. It makes enough for 2 as a main or 4 to 6 as a side dish.
2. Kecap Manis is also known as sweet soy sauce. You can buy it at major supermarkets in Australia (Woolworths, Coles) or Asian grocery stores for around $2.
OR you can make your own! It is hard to make just the amount required in this recipe so you will need to make a larger quantity. Just combine 1/4 cup normal soy sauce (not light) with 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp brown sugar (or palm sugar) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then allow to simmer until it thickens to a THIN syrup consistency, then remove from the stove (it will continue to thicken as it cools).
This makes more than you need but it's hard to make less. Use the leftovers to make my Indonesian Chicken Satay! Or just mix with melted butter and brush onto chicken to bake or panfry. Delicious!
3. Using a silver saucepan makes it easier to see when the butter is golden brown. If you don't have one, just scoop up the butter with a silver spoon to check the colour.
4. How to tell a prawn is perfectly cooked: RAW prawns hang straight. Perfectly cooked prawns form a "C" shape and overcooked prawns are curled in a "O" shape.
5. Nutrition assuming this serves 4 as a side.