Sweet Sour Prawn

sweet sour prawn

My mother loves to cook sweet and sour prawn. She would like to think this is her signature dish. I love it too. Anything with sweet and sour sauce is always pretty special, isn’t it? It normally serves as one plate dish, since prawn is always something fancy. No idea why they are expensive here.

Other substitutes like fish cutlets, whole fried fish, chicken breast can also be used with the sauce. She loves doing everything from scratch. If it were up to me, I would have definitely used instant sweet and sour sauce straight from the jar.

She always leaves the shell on and deep fry the prawns before cooking. I personally like to shell the prawn, cut out the vein and slit the back so they open up like butterflies. Then tossing them straight into the hot wok.

I am so loving this dish.

Another note on food photography, I had been not careful these days. Most shots were over-exposed. Will keep in mind next time to use polarizer filter or difuse light with something. Plus I was not feeling particularly creative. Need something to booze up the creative juice. Enough with the white background(!) It’s boring (!)


1/8 (225 gr) fresh pineapple, cubed (or canned)

1 (175 gr) cucumber, seeded and cut diagonally

1 (125 gr) carrot, cut into match sticks

1 leek, cut diagonally

2 red chili, slice diagonally

600 gr prawn (with shells on)

2 tablespoons sugar + 2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt + 3 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

1 stalk celery, cut diagonally

2 cm (1″) ginger, mashed

3 cloves shallot

1 clove garlic

2 cups cooking oil for deep frying

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 cup water


  • Peel and cut pineapple into 1″ cubes. Cook in boiling water with sugar for 2 minutes. Drain and pat dry. If canned pineapple is used, cut into cubes and skip this step. They are ready to be used
  • In a clean plate, mix cucumber and carrots with 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Leave for 15 minutes and drain by squeezing them till the water comes out. Set aside
  • Heat 2 cups cooking oil in a wok / deep frying pan over high heat. When smoke starts to come off the wok, deep fry the prawns for 5 – 7 minutes. Remove and pat dry with clean paper towel. Drain the oil from the wok. Reserve 1/2 cup oil in the wok
  • Heat remaining oil over high heat and add ginger, leek, celery and chili. Stir fry for 2 minutes until all flavors are released
  • Add carrot and cucumber, pineapple cubes, tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup water. Cook for another 3 minutes
  • Dilute 1 tablespoon tapioca starch with 1/2 tablespoon cold water. Add 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce. Add the liquid into the wok. Mix well
  • Toss in the prawn. Cook for 3 minutes or less, till the sauce thickens. If thinner sauce is preferred, more water can be added
  • Serve with steamed rice or egg noodles

Step by step shots

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13 Responses to “Sweet Sour Prawn”

  1. 1

    Alice — January 8, 2009 @ 2:22 am

    Wow! You sweet & sour prawns are so tedious and I’m sure it is tasty. Thanks for the recipe, my whole family loves it. May cook it tomorrow.

    Alice’s last blog post..Eggs with Cranberry Beans

  2. 2

    Tangled Noodle — January 8, 2009 @ 2:50 am

    If you consider these photos subpar, I have no hope for my own – they look great to me!

    Tangled Noodle’s last blog post..Feelin’ the Love

  3. 3

    Tangled Noodle — January 8, 2009 @ 2:50 am

    If you consider these photos subpar, I have no hope for my own – they look great to me!

  4. 4

    mochachocolata-rita — January 8, 2009 @ 4:27 am

    eit eit eit eitssss….i love the dish. however, i normally deshell the prawns, as my sous chef hates peeling, and i, on the contrary, find it therapeutic ^_^

    btw…i have the same set of plates!!!! but round ones…i got them from the philippines. they photograph like heaven! :)

  5. 5

    Pepy — January 8, 2009 @ 5:00 am

    I need to be more creative with background since I love white background. I guess Donna Hay style, eh.

    Lovely dish, anyway.

  6. 6

    Nate — January 8, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

    Beautiful dish. We normally do sweet and sour fish but the prawns make it more elegant.

    What would a polarizing filter do to help with the overexposure issue?

    Nate’s last blog post..Pandan Chiffon Cake

  7. 7

    Farina — January 8, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

    Happy New Year Jun!

    I love this dish and im sure you know that already. lol.

    Farina’s last blog post..Guest Blogging at Rasa Malaysia – Soto Ayam / Chicken Soto

  8. 8

    noobcook — January 9, 2009 @ 2:32 am

    oh my, I really love this dish. I’m drooling =D

    noobcook’s last blog post..Stir-fried Lala Clams with Blachan Chilli

  9. 9

    Joie de vivre — January 9, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

    I love recipes from Mom. These must be good for that very reason.

    Joie de vivre’s last blog post..French Friday #2

  10. 10

    lk — January 12, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

    Looking at those complicated ingredients & steps, I guess I will be using sweet & sour sauce straight from jar like u too. But I bet nothing beats mom’s cooking. It is definitely worth the hard work.

    lk’s last blog post..Rainbow seafood pasta salad

  11. 11

    Tuty — January 14, 2009 @ 12:59 am

    Is this what we typically call UDANG KU LU YUK ? The ingredients seem similar to the ayam/chicken kuluyuk from the mom/pop restaurant back home…

  12. 12

    Banana Blossom — January 14, 2009 @ 6:51 am

    This looks so appertizing-a bowl of rice is all I need.
    Thanks for the recipe-I am collecting it.

    Banana Blossom’s last blog post..Pasta Albanella

  13. 13

    kang at LE — January 16, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

    Hello beautiful :)

    I personally prefer my s&s prawns shells off, fried in light batter , or better yet, lightly battered cod fillets with s&s sauce.

    But yours look yummy too – so I will eat them :)

    kang at LE’s last blog post..Still or sparkling?

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