Szechuan and Coriander Prawns

Since I have been home from my wonderful experience of MasterChef Australia (Series 6), there have been many requests for my Szechuan and Coriander Crab Dish. As this dish requires Mud Crab and it is not always in season, I have adjusted the dish a little and I’ve created this little gem for all to try. Using prawns instead of the crab allows me to feed more with the cost being less of a hurt to the wallet. Serve with either a homemade mayo or your favourite ready-made mayonnaise.

Szechuan pepper is also knows as a pepper flower or Chinese pepper and is not a pepper at all. Instead, it is a reddish-brown berry that comes from the prickly ash tree. It is also one of the ingredients in five-spice powder. While not as hot as chilli pepper, it does have a unique flavour and is famous for its numbing effect on the tongue and lips.

Szechuan and Coriander Prawns


1 kilo of peeled and devined Australian Tiger Prawns

¼ cup Coriander Seeds

¼ cup Szechuan Peppercorns

1 cup Rice flour

Oil for Deep-frying


  1. Heat the oil to 180 degrees
  2. Heat a small fry pan and add the coriander seeds and Szechuan peppercorns. Stir and or toss gently and dry fry the spices until they start to release their natural oils and they become very aromatic.
  3. Remove from the heat immediately. Cool slightly, then blitz in a spice blender, (or like me in an old coffee grinder or mortar and pestle). Do this until you get a fine powder.
  4. Add the spice powder to your rice flour mixing it with a fork until blended. Place this mixture into a deep mixing bowl for later.
  5. With the prawns cut into and down the back of the prawn until you have successfully butterflied them. (I cut these in half across the body of the prawn to create more portions but you can leave them whole). Dry the prawns off gently with paper towel.
  6. In batches, toss the prawns generously in the flour and spice mix.
  7. Deep-fry the prawns for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcrowd the deep fryer, as this will create the oil to drop in temperature and leaving you with an oily texture to the prawns. (I do them by the handful). The prawns should still have a firm bite when eaten and remember they are still cooking when you remove them from the fryer. Place the fried prawns on absorbent paper and continue cooking in batches until all are cooked.
  8. Serve hot with wedges of lemon and lime and fresh coriander.

NOTE: If the prawns are too wet when you add the spice flour they hold too much of the flour and it becomes very claggy. Also this can be a little too much spice and over takes the flavour and texture of the prawn.