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Thai Crispy Garlic Prawns Recipe

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Thai crispy garlic prawns recipe is the perfect quick-fix for your weeknight seafood cravings. This simple dinner combines juicy prawns with pepper and garlic, a must-try for those who love Thai flavors.

Thai crispy garlic prawns with rice and a creamy dipping sauce.

Can’t get enough of that garlic flavor? Check out my Thai garlic pepper chicken and garlic pepper pork.

Thai crispy garlic prawns

Throwback to the days when I still owned a Thai restaurant. Our garlic pepper options were the talk of the town! Spicy garlic pepper, an extra heap of garlic, extra peppery, a sauce on the side – you name it, we made it.

One night I was almost out of sauce, and that’s when I got a brilliant idea.

I ran to the fridge, grabbed that carton of cream, and boom! Poured it right in.

Garlic prawns with a creamy sauce over it, and white rice.

The kitchen smelled like heaven and the sauce was off-the-charts.

No kidding, this is THE BEST Thai garlic prawns you’ll ever have, all thanks to that creamy sauce.

4 Reasons to try this pan fried prawn recipe

  • The best creamy garlic prawns. Ok, the prawns aren’t bathing in sauce, but you can totally drizzle as much sauce over them as you want. The creamy sauce is made with the oil released from the prawn heads. That means each drip of sauce is bursting with natural, juicy shrimp flavor!
  • Irresistible crispy fried garlic. One of the best things about this recipe is the crispy fried garlic. Unlike other garlic prawns recipes, we will use the garlic-infused oil to fry the prawns too. That’s twice as much garlic flavor for you!
  • Easy weeknight dinner recipe. This is a quick and easy dish, totally doable for every home cook. In under 30 minutes, you’ve got a dish of restaurant quality.
  • Extra flavorful. The perfect balance of salty-sweet-creamy, and there’s also a hint of black pepper that makes it even better.
Garlic prawns with rice and a creamy sauce.

Have you seen my collection of Thai seafood recipes? There’s shrimp, squid, fish, and more prawn!

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Bird's eye view of recipe ingredients; prawns, white sugar, oyster sauce and light soy sauce in glass cups on a bamboo placeholder. There's also garlic and black peppercorns on it.
  • Prawns – In Thailand, we often deep-fry shrimps with their skin on. This locks in their natural flavor and gives them a crispy bite you can’t resist. Opt for large prawns, like king prawns.
  • Oyster sauce – Oyster sauce is a staple of Thai cuisine. We often use it to add an umami and salty flavor to stir-fries, marinades, and many others.
  • Light soy sauce – Popular in Southeast Asian cuisine, it brings a salty depth to the garlic prawns.
  • White sugar – A little sugar balances out the salty and umami flavors.
  • Garlic – Not only do we fry the garlic until it’s crispy and golden, but we also use its oil to fry the prawns. That means this easy prawns recipe is extra garlicky.
  • Black pepper – A bit of black pepper adds a hint of spice, without being overwhelming.
  • Natural cooking cream – Transforms the sauce into a creamy, rich sauce that adds a decadence that you won’t find in other prawn dishes.

Short recipe video

Cooking instructions

First, we’re making crispy garlic that’s golden and super crunchy. That fragrant garlic oil is like gold, and we’re using it to deep-fry the prawns.

As the prawns fry, their digestive gland – known as the hepatopancreas – starts to mix into the oil. This is basically the part of the prawn that makes everything taste like super-concentrated prawn goodness.

So, the garlic-infused oil we’re using also becomes infused with prawn flavor. Then, we’ll use that oil to cook up the sauce. Believe me, you’ll want to drizzle it on everything!

  1. Make crispy fried garlic

    Crispy fried garlic in a black spoon on a wooden cutting board.

    1. Peel and chop garlic.

    2. Heat neutral oil in a wok until hot.

    3. Add garlic, stir until golden.

    4. Remove and drain on paper towels.

  2. Cook the prawns

    Instructions for deep-frying prawns in a wok.

    1. In the same garlic-infused oil, fry the prawns skin-on. Cook until cooked through, about 2 minutes each side, depending on the size of your prawns.

    2. Scoop them up with a colander and let any extra oil drip off.

  3. Make the creamy sauce

    Instructions for making prawn sauce.

    1. Remove most of the oil from the pan, leaving just a bit behind. That’s what we’ll need for making the sauce.

    2. In the remaining oil, add crushed garlic. Sauté until golden, about 20 seconds.

    3. Add light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and natural cooking cream. Cook the sauce, constantly stirring, until mixed well and sugar dissolves. You’ll end up with a thick sauce when it’s ready. If you prefer a thin sauce, add 2 tablespoons of water.

Kitchen tools

  • Mortar and pestle for crushing the garlic
  • Tongs for flipping the prawns
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Large wok or skillet

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Use fresh ingredients. I advise using fresh garlic, and the freshest seafood you can find. If fresh prawns are no option, you can use frozen. Just dry them thoroughly.
  • Avoid overcrowding. If you’re cooking a big batch, fry in batches.
  • Skin-on prawns. Cook the large prawns skin-on. This makes them juicier, and adds more flavor, trust me.
  • Don’t overcook. Prawns cook fast. Avoid overcooking, no one likes hard, overcooked prawns.
  • Garlic timing. Add the garlic only when the oil is hot. Remove it from your pan when golden, don’t wait for it to turn golden brown.

What goes with garlic prawns

  • Steamed rice: It’s the perfect addition to soak up that saucy, prawn goodness.
  • Crusty bread: Toasted bread, butter, and prawns? Yes please!
  • A light salad: Something light and crisp, like som tum Thai.
  • Thai vegetables stir-fry
  • White wine
  • Pasta

How to store and reheat

I recommend eating everything in one go. If you do have some leftovers: Let them come to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container, separating them from the sauce. They’ll last up to 2 days in the fridge.

Reheating instructions: Warm them up on the stovetop, use a tablespoon of oil if needed. Be careful not to overcook.

Frequently asked questions

What is garlic prawns?

Garlic prawns is a seafood dish that combines juicy prawns (or shrimp) sautéed or fried in a mix of garlic and often pepper, herbs, and sometimes cream or wine.

What type of oil should I use?

Use a neutral flavored oil with high smoke point, like canola, sunflower, or vegetable oil.

Is this dish spicy?

No, this dish is one of my own creations and it is not spicy.

Can I make this ahead of time?

For the best flavor, I recommend making this before serving.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

It is when you use a gluten-free soy sauce and gluten-free oyster sauce.

More Thai shrimp recipes you’ll love

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Thai Crispy Garlic Prawns Recipe

Thai crispy garlic prawns with rice and a creamy dipping sauce.
The BEST Thai garlic prawns, crispy, garlicky, with a creamy sauce.
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 6 cloves garlic crush with a mortar and pestle
  • 10 cloves garlic for crispy fried garlic
  • 8 prawns
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 cup natural cooking cream
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions

MAKE CRISPY FRIED GARLIC

  • Peel and chop garlic.
  • Heat neutral oil in a wok until hot.
  • Add garlic, stir until golden.
  • Remove and drain on paper towels.

COOK THE PRAWNS

  • In the same garlic-infused oil, fry the prawns skin-on. Cook until cooked through, about 2 minutes each side, depending on the size of your prawns.
  • Scoop them up with a colander and let any extra oil drip off.

MAKE THE SAUCE.

  • Remove most of the oil from the pan, leaving just a bit behind. That's what we'll need for making the sauce.
  • In the remaining oil, add crushed garlic. Sauté until golden, about 20 seconds.
  • Add light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and natural cooking cream. Cook the sauce, constantly stirring, until mixed well and sugar dissolves. You'll end up with a thick sauce when it's ready. If you prefer a thin sauce, add 2 tablespoons of water.

SERVE

  • Serve garlic prawns with rice. Top them with crispy fried garlic and black pepper, then drizzle with sauce.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Use a neutral oil for the crispy garlic.
  • Serve with rice.

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have a question regarding the recipe ingredients. What is natural cooking cream? Is that another way of saying heavy cream (cows milk)? I’d love to make this as it looks and sounds amazing but want to make sure I use the right ingredients. Thanks!

    1. 5 stars
      Hey HT!

      I just checked the package labeling for you, and it says: UHT NON-DAIRY CREAM by Maxime Chef (Master Martini Brand)

      I hope this gives you enough information, sadly the labeling doesn’t give any more information than that, enjoy making the recipe!

5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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