Prawns in Oyster Sauce

Posted on March 29, 2013


The preparation of the new moon banquet was the defining experience of Spring Festival. For many moons KuKu had been dazzling family, customers and friends with the fruits of her wok. On New Years day she would spend all morning in the kitchen weaving her magic. I was more than happy to relive the apprentice chef experience.

Prawns have always been a part of her menu for this auspicious day. In Cantonese ‘Hee Har Siew’ means laughter and ‘har’ has connotations of happiness. ‘Har’ is also prawns and thus the extent of joy is proportionate to the size of the prawns served. KuKu’s prawns in oyster sauce consist of medium to large size crustaceans.


20 medium to large prawns, uncooked and unpeeled
2 tablespoon sugar, for marinade
2 teaspoon pepper
200ml peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar, for sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon hot water
1 onion, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm strips
1 capsicum, cut into 2.5cm strips
1 leek, cut the bottom white part into 2.5cm strips
1 tomato, cut into 1/8
1 tablespoon cooking wine
Coriander leaves, torn to garnish


  1. Trim appendage of prawns and marinade in sugar and pepper for at least an hour. Heat peanut oil in a pan and then fry prawns briefly till reddish brown. Remove and discard most of the oil.
  2. Sauté ginger and garlic in the remaining oil.
  3. Mix oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar in a bowl with hot water. Add to pan and stir for 1 min.
  4. Add onion, capsicum, leek and tomato. Stir-fry for 1 min.
  5. Add another tablespoon hot water if sauce starts to dry.
  6. Add prawns and cooking wine, and stir-fry for 30 sec.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serves 4 (with steamed rice)

NOTE: Leek can be replaced with snow peas or asparagus.

Prawns in Oyster Sauce4

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