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Sri Lanka Light & Spicy Prawns in Oil

By: Erna Dyanty

Sri Lanka Light & Spicy Prawns in oil recipe

Delectable Sri Lanka Light & Spicy Prawns in oil

I know the name of the dish doesn’t sound too appetizing or healthy by its title. However, once you’ve put this onto a plate with hot steamy rice, I think it’ll change your mind about the title. This dish is a very light but very very spicy. If you cannot stomach too much heat in your meals, you may opt to reduce the chili in the recipe.

Seafood in Sri Lanka isn’t all that cheap compared to Malaysia, but it beats us for freshness and quality. The fish markets here in Pitta Kotte, where I am based, are in abundance. The shops open from 6 a.m to 10 p.m. every day.  You can be sure to bump into a fish stall every 100 meters selling fresh fish, prawns, cuttlefish and crabs at reasonable rates. The seer fish or mackerel is priced at an expensive rate in comparison to all tuna or sardines. In fact, the prawns and crabs can come up to LKR 250 (about 2.2 USD) for 200 g which is very reasonable.

In Sri Lanka, I have noticed that it is a common practice for shop owners to not display their prices. Even if they do, it is all written in Sinhala. Really a disadvantage for me as I can’t really make out the actual prices for what I am purchasing. What I have done is to check the rates with a supermarket  and compare the prices of their fresh produce and gauge the prices I would get when I go to the wet market in town. Just a handy tip for travelers with options to cook in their living hostels or guest house.

So, if you are in the mood for a fast and spicy meal for dinner – this is a great prawn dish to serve. Great to be eaten on its own or with a side dish of dhal or curry.

Sri Lanka Light & Spicy Prawns in Oil Recipe


200 g prawns
1 finely cut red onion
1 leek chopped
2 green chilies
2 tomatoes diced
1 tbsp chili flakes
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp of pepper
1” ginger sliced
3  garlic sliced
2 sticks of curry leaves
½ tsp cinnamon
Lime Juice
salt to taste

How to make Light & Spicy Prawns in Oil

  1. Devein the prawns, rub a bit of lime over the prawns and set aside.
  2. Heat up about 1 tbsp of oil and sauté the onions, curry leaves, green chili and cinnamon.
  3. Once fragrant, add in the ginger, garlic, turmeric, chili flakes and the prawns.
  4. When the prawns have changed in color, add in the tomatoes, pepper, salt, leeks and let them simmer for about a minute.
  5. Serve piping hot with steamy rice and raw vegetables. Squeeze a bit of lime before eating.

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