Sweet and Sour Prawns made simple

  • Prep Time : 5m
  • Cook Time : 10m
  • Ready In : 15m

In this recipe, I have tried to create a simpler version of the traditional sweet and sour prawns that is so popular worldwide.
You can achieve the same restaurant taste -sour and spicy mingled with a sweet flavour very easily.
This recipe uses tomato ketchup as the shortcut to great taste.
Ketchup might sound extremely strange in a recipe, but  believe me, it balances the spice beautifully.  It effortlessly adds colour, taste and sweetness in a flash and then vanishes without a trace- you just can’t detect it.


  • Prawns, large- 12 to 15
  • Cornflour- 2 tbsp
  • Water- 500-600ml
  • Egg-1
  • Peppercorns, pink 5 ( Sichuan- optional)
  • Garlic cloves, finely chopped - 3
  • Ginger, finely grated- 1 inch
  • Red chillies- deseeded and finely sliced- 2
  • Spring Onions - 2, (1 inch pieces)
  • Yellow pepper, sliced- 1/2
  • Coriander- 3 tbsp
  • Lime juice- 1 tbsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Oil- for frying
  • Tomato ketchup- 5 tbsp
  • Brown sugar- 1 tbsp
  • Light soy sauce- 1 tbsp
  • Cornflour- 2 teaspoons
  • Hot water- 3/4 cup


1.  Put all the ingredients for the sauce into a bowl and mix well.

2.  Put the egg, cornflour and the water into another bowl, and mix to make a batter. Set aside.

3.  Marinate the prawns with 1 tsp ginger paste,1 tsp garlic paste and salt. This is not a typical Chinese way of making this dish, but I find that adding ginger-garlic and salt at this stage enhances the flavour immensely. You can use raw prawns or pre-cooked prawns for this recipe. It is not necessary to keep the shells for the tails on.. that is completely optional..  I just used what I had on hand.

4. Slice the peppers, dice the spring onions and slice the chillies.


5. Heat a wok over a high heat and add about 500ml oil. Heat the oil till hot. You can test if it is ready for frying by dropping just one drop of the batter into the oil. If the oil is ready to fry, the batter will float up almost instantly.
6. Dip each prawn into the batter, then lower one by one into the oil and cook until they turn golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the oil and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.


7. In another wok,  add 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil starts to smoke, add the pink peppercorns and stir-fry for a few seconds. I have added pink peppers, because my fussy little one wouldn’t have eaten the Sichuan ones. But the  sichuan peppers would add a delightful taste to this dish, albeit very spicy!
8. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and stir-fry for a few more seconds.

9. Now pour in the sauce and bring to the boil while stirring constantly. Cornflour has this tendency of forming lumps, if suddenly put on high heat.

10. Add the prawns, lime juice, spring onions and coriander and serve immediately with steamed rice.

This dish is fingerlickingly good. Not only is it good to eat with family , but makes for excellent party food.

I am sure you will make it many times over.

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