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Indonesian butter garlic prawns (Udang mentega dan pawang puhit)

Sometimes, I cook a simple dish, and this is one of them. However, it is delicious.

The prawns are flash sautéed in a traditional wok. The magic is the surprising curry leaf flavour, which is delicate and complements the butter so well. The traditional Indonesian flavours are modernized by the use of butter as the cooking fat. You can make this dish with jumbo prawns; if you do so, keep the shells on, as it makes a beautiful presentation. Simple and elegant, these prawns will be a winner at any table.

Malaysia: Recipes from a Family Kitchen is a wonderful cookbook filled with very approachable recipes that highlight the region's flavours, techniques and dishes. Ping Coombes has accumulated some amazing recipes from her home kitchen and from street stalls to put together a definitive collection of the classics and flavours of the land. The traditional flavours emerge strongly, resulting in beautiful flavours. I need to cook from it a lot more!

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.


3 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 Thai red chillies, minced

15 curry leaves

1/2 lb prawns or 6 large tiger prawns

1 teaspoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt, as needed

1 egg yolk

Heat the butter is a wok on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chillies, and fry for 1 minute until the garlic is lightly golden. Add the curry leaves and sauté for an additional 20 seconds.

Add the prawns and cook for 3-4 minutes until they have turned white and are almost cooked through. Add the soy sauce, sugar, and salt and toss well until the prawns are evenly coated with the sauce. The prawns should be fully cooked at this time.

Separate the egg yolk and whisk well until foamy. Slowly pour the yolk in a very thin stream. While pouring the yolks, make sure to stir the prawns continually and vigorously so that the egg coats them and does not form a scramble. Continue until the yolks cover and the prawns are evenly coated.

Serve immediately. This is a dish that is best straight from the wok and does not stay well.

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