This is definitely not a classic Sri Lankan recipe. It is a family recipe, with Sri Lankan and Thai influences, and it uses the quintessentially Lankan jaggery or palm sugar to add a lovely dark sweetness. It's sweet, spicy and salty and works well with other proteins as well, mainly fish and pork.

 - 500g prawns
 - 1/4 cup grated jaggery
 - 2 tbsp soya sauce
 - 3-4 cloves of garlic
 - 1 tbsp ginger
 - 4-5 stalks of lemongrass
 - 1 tsp coriander powder
 - 1 tsp cumin powder
 - 1 tbsp chili powder
 - 1 tbsp tsp chili flakes
 - A squeeze of lime juice 
 - Fresh red chilies
 - Fresh cilantro
 - 1 tbsp oil 
First, mince garlic, ginger and salt until smooth. Add a finely chopped stalk of lemongrass and marinade prawns in this mixture for at least an hour. Best use cleaned, de-veined prawns with just the tails attached, as they absorb the flavours well.
In as separate bowl, add cumin, coriander, chili powder, soya sauce and lime juice to the grated jaggery. Mix well till jaggery has dissolved and there are no lumps. 
Heat oil in a wok and flash fry the prawns for a couple of minutes on medium-high heat. Remove the half cooked prawns from the pan (so that they don't overcook) and set aside. Cook the jaggery mixture in the same pan for a couple of minutes until the spices are cooked through and the mixture has thickened slightly. Add more bruised lemongrass, chili flakes and chopped cilantro roots and stem. 
Adjust seasonings - salt, jaggery and chili according to your taste. Add the prawns and cook until they are well camaralized, coated in the jaggery mixture and cooked through. Prawns take very little time to cook so make sure you don't over cook them. 
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and fresh red chilies. Serve warm with a bowl of sticky rice!

You may also like

Back to Top