Sugar-cured Prawn Omelette with Smoked Chilli Sambal

Anna Hansen

Anna Hansen

17th December 2013
Anna Hansen

Sugar-cured Prawn Omelette with Smoked Chilli Sambal

Sugar-cured Prawn Omelette with Smoked Chilli Sambal by Anna Hansen The Modern Pantry


  • Serves 6
  • To sugar-cure the prawns:
  • 18 raw tiger prawns, peeled, cut in half lengthways and de-veined
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, bashed gently with a rolling pin or other suitable implement and cut into 4
  • 30g fresh ginger, sliced
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 100g white sugar
  • 15g Maldon salt or other flaky sea salt
  • For the omelettes:
  • 12 eggs
  • 3 tsp Smoked Chilli Sambal, plus extra to serve (the recipe can be found below)
  • butter for frying 1 green chilli, sliced into super fine rounds
  • a bunch of spring onions, sliced
  • leaves from a bunch of coriander
  • Smoked Chilli Sambal
  • Makes about 1kg
  • Rapeseed oil for deep-frying
  • 250g onions, sliced
  • 250g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 80g fresh ginger, cut into fine strips
  • 80g garlic, sliced
  • 25g dried shrimps, ground finely in a spice grinder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chill flakes (or 1 tsp hot smoked paprika)
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 125g tamarind paste
  • 40ml fish sauce (nam pla)


Anna Hansen – The Modern Pantry Cookbook, published by Ebury
This is THE signature dish at The Modern Pantry. To me, it has the perfect balance of flavour, texture and aroma and I think it truly reflects my approach to cooking.
It began with me finding a packet of dried prawns in my pantry and then daydreaming about all the things I could do with them. I became so enthusiastic that I decided to try making my own. As you can imagine, air-drying prawns is not that easy from an urban kitchen window and, somehow, drying them in the oven felt like cheating. I moved on to the idea of sugar-curing the prawns as you would a piece of salmon or beef fillet but with an Asian influence. Hmmm. Not quite what I had hoped for. Finally I tossed them into a frying pan, where they were transformed into the delicious sweet and slightly crunchy caramelized morsels that eventually became the centerpiece of the sugar-cured prawn omelette.
Although I have put the recipe in the Breakfast and Brunch chapter of the book, this omelette really is good at any time of the day or night. We also serve it as a canapé by scrambling the eggs softly with the chilli sambal, then putting a little of the mixture on a spoon, topping with a sautéed prawn, a ring or two of green chilli and spring onion and a sprig of coriander. I would recommend using Chinese ceramic spoons for this as they have a flat bottom and thus sit happily on a serving platter but any spoon will do.
This recipe is a little time-consuming but if its popularity at the restaurant is anything to go by, it is well worth the effort. The prawns and the sambal can be made several days in advance, so there’s no need to tackle it all at once.
To sugar-cure the prawns, mix all the ingredients together well, then cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours. Rinse the prawns and pat dry. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. They should keep for six days. For each omelette, whish two eggs together in a small bowl with half teaspoon of the sambal. The sambal provides the seasoning, so avoid the urge to add salt. Heat a knob of butter in a non-stick omelette pan over a moderate heat. When it begins to sizzle, add six prawn halves. Toss these in the pan until almost cooked, and then pour in the eggs. Swirl the pan once or twice, then reduce the heat and sprinkle over some green chilli rounds and a small handful of spring onion slices. When the eggs look almost cooked, use a flat, heatproof rubber spatula to fold the omelette in half. Slide onto a plate and keep somewhere warm while you make the remaining omelettes. To serve, garnish with coriander leaves and a spoonful of the sambal.
Smoked Chilli Sambal Heat some oil to 180C in a deep-fat fryer or a large, deep pan, then deep-fry the red peppers, onions and tomatoes separately in small batches until they are a deep golden brown – almost burnt looking. Drain them on kitchen paper and then tip them into a large bowl as you go. Deep—fry the ginger and garlic, in separate batches also, until just golden brown. In a small frying pan, fry the ground shrimps in a little of the oil from the fryer until aromatic. Add them to the bowl along with all the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Now blitz the sambal in batches in a food processor until almost smooth, emptying it out into another bowl as you go. Once you have done this, mix the processed sambal together thoroughly and allow to cool. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. Alternately, go to The Modern Pantry and buy a jar!

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