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Salt and Pepper Prawns

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I think many people would have tried or heard of this popular Chinese dish, salt and pepper prawns (椒鹽蝦). It’s quite easy to find this dish on the menu of a Chinese restaurant.

Salt and Pepper Prawns

The basic requirement of cooking this delicious dish is to get really balanced taste of salt and pepper mixture. The secret ingredient is a bit of five-spice powder.

Salt and Pepper
Salt and pepper mixture
Either fresh or frozen prawns will taste yummy after deep-frying.

Mind you, after deep-frying the prawns, the oil is quite messy. I found it’s hardly to recycle and use the oil again. So I used a small amount of oil just enough to cover the prawns in order to save money.

Salt and Pepper Prawns Recipe

(Printable recipe)

Prep time:
Cook time:
Yield: 2 to 3 serves

Salt and Pepper Prawns

  • 8 to 9 medium prawns (shrimps)
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 2 Tbsp cornflour
  • ¼ lemon for garnish
  • spring onion for garnish
Salt and pepper mixture
  • 1½ tsp table salt
  • 1½ tsp mixed ground black and white pepper
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ⅛ tsp five-spice powder

  1. Trim the head and tail of prawns as well as devein. Rinse well with cold running water. Drain and pat dry the shrimp with paper towels.
  2. Heat oil to 140C (284F). You might test whether the oil is ready or not by dropping a cube of bread in it. If the bread cube turns brown in about 45 seconds, the oil is ready.
  3. Coat the prawns with cornflour and shake off any excess flour. Deep-fry the prawn in batches until cooked through. You’ll find the prawn turns red-pink in colour and curl up when it’s done. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper mixture. Put the shredded lettuce on a plate, top with the salt and pepper prawn, garnish with spring onion and lemon when served.

  • Store any excess salt and pepper mixture in an airtight container. It’s very good for steamed or deep-fried chicken as well.
  • Make sure that the prawns are really dry before adding them into hot oil.


  1. Looks very delicious yet so simple to make. Lovely photography.

  2. To MaryMoh,
    Thanks so much! You're really quick to find my latest post! Love you!

  3. Yup, that's definitely one of my favorites.

  4. I don't like deep-frying because it is very messy and wasting lots of oil like you said. Usually, I just pan-fry it under medium high heat and cover with a lid to let it cook faster and prevent the oil from splattering the kitchen stove. Luv your S&P prawns! So delicious!

  5. I always have the squid version, the prawns look great!

  6. To Joan Nova,
    Good! Great minds think alike, LOL.

    To Food For Tots,
    I couldn't agree with you more. Pan-frying is a very good, alternative method to cook this dish.

    To pigpigscorner,
    The salt and pepper squid is very famous too. Unfortunately, I'm not quite like eating squid, so here come these prawns.

    To Sophie,
    Thanks a lot!

  7. Hi Christine, I am now in HK, had 2 times salt n pepper prawns (Lai Liu Prawns) already. Yummy! Yours looks great too!

  8. Hi Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88,
    Lucky you, you can enjoy many yummy foods in HK.
    I haven't tried Lai Liu Prawns for a long time. Envy you, LOL.

    Thanks for dropping by while you're busy around with tasting all those delicious HK cuisine. Haha...

  9. Another favorite - I always get this dish when we go to dim sum. I also always wanted to recreate it at home - and now I can

  10. I have been trying to recreate House of Louie's S&P Shrimp and Squid for YEARS to no avail! My attempts are always yummy but not quite right. I find it funny that NO ONE has mentioned MSG. It obviously has MSG in the mix. I know it's taboo but for an authentic taste ya gotta use it!