Malay-style prawn salad

Malay-style prawn salad

At Home with Ben
Mark Roper

Last year I cooked a fortieth-birthday barbecue for an Aussie guy living in Singapore. There were around sixty guests, and I loved it. I spent the day before the event shopping in the markets and taking inspiration from the food for sale in the hawker centres. This is just one of the results of that experience.

The highlight was the tiny dried anchovy-like fish that were fried and served as a topping on different dishes. I knew this salad needed some crunch and saltiness so I grabbed some. You can get them here in Australia at Asian food stores.


Quantity Ingredient
1 cup sunflower oil
50g dried anchovies
1/4 cup shredded or sliced coconut
100g green beans, blanched until tender and refreshed
250g cooked king prawns, peeled and deveined
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 cup thai basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 cup small betel leaves or watercress
1/4 cup coconut cream


Quantity Ingredient
1-2 small red chillies
3 limes, juiced
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce


  1. Heat the sunflower oil in a wok over medium–high heat. When hot enough to cook a piece of bread golden in around 5 seconds, add the anchovies and fry until golden brown. Drain and set aside on paper towel until required.
  2. Place the coconut in a frying pan and toast over medium heat for about 5 minutes, tossing all the time, until golden. Set aside to cool.
  3. Trim the beans of their tops and tails, then chop. Pound half the prawns in a mortar with a pestle until coarsely shredded. Slice the remainder in half.
  4. Combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl and mix until the caster sugar has dissolved. Add the shredded and sliced prawns, green beans, toasted coconut, spring onion, Thai basil, mint and betel leaves or watercress. Combine well.
  5. Season the coconut cream with a little salt, pour over the salad and serve straight away.
At Home with Ben
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