Steamed Prawns with Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaves

Hubby and I went to a neighbouring city to search for a vegetable wholesale market recently. It was a half-an-hour drive from our place and out of boredome, I kept snapping pictures of the highway.

The vegetable market is a huge area with vendors setting up makeshift stalls under concrete shelters. This place reminds me of the Pasir Panjang wholesale centre in Singapore, but only much bigger.

Th variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that greeted us was fascinating! I wish I could take more pictures and post them in the blog, but unfortunately, I won't be able to do so once I step out of the car. Well, picture taking by women in public is frowned upon and I can only get my hubby's help to take a picture of a fruits stall.

We were about to leave the market when we happened to pass by a single storey building with meat, poultry and seafood stalls. Upon entering, I was overwhelmed by the sight of seafood section as there are at least 30 stalls selling a huge variety of seafood. I was so excited that I bought enough seafood that last us for more than a week!

The next day, using half a kilo of the prawns that I got from the market, I prepared a steamed prawns with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves dish. I've cooked this yummy dish many times before but I don't know why I didn't blog about it earlier.

If you plan to give this recipe a try, one important point to note is that, the amount of seasoning given in the recipe is just an estimate, so when cooking the sauce, you have to keep tasting and adjusting the seasoning until the right balance of flavour is achieved.

While I enjoy the spiciness in the sauce, I can't have too much of it at one go. I'd usually use up half of it for the prawns and keep the rest in the fridge. If this level of spiciness is fine with you, by all means, use up all the sauce. If not, please do not throw it away because the sauce can be put to good use. An easy way to use up the sauce, as what I'd normally do, is to reheat it and serve with a piece of fish that is pan-fried until golden brown and crispy. Recycling the leftover this way not only helps to save cost but also spare me the trouble of having to think of what to cook for my next meal!

Steamed Prawns with Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaves Recipe
(Adapted from Famous Cuisine Magazine, Issue no. 45)

Ingredients A:
500g large prawns

Ingredients B:
5 garlic cloves
3 kaffir lime leaves
3 stems lemongrass
10 shallots
2 red chillies
3 chilli padi
1 stalk fresh coriander

5 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce

1) Chop all ingredients B until fine. Set aside.
2) Rinse the prawns, remove shells on the bodies but leave the shells on the tails intact. Steam in a preheated steamer for about 7 minutes, or until cooked.
3) Cook seasoning in a saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Add chopped ingredients and juice from steaming the prawns, stir well. Keep tasting and add more seasoning, if necessary.
4) Place steamed prawns on a plate and pour the cooked ingredients on top. Serve.


squawmama said…
Hi Piggy... This sounds so good I am going to go buy the stuff for it tomorrow and try my hand at making it... I don't know if I'll find the Lime leaves... would regular lime leaves work??? and what is chili padi.... I hope I can find them...

Piggy said…
Hi squawmama,

This dish calls for "kaffir lime" leaves, maybe you can try to look for it in the Asian food stores. This is how it looks like:

Chilli padi ( is also called bird's eye chilli. It is much more spicier than normal red chilli. You might want to reduce the amount if you can't take spicy food.

I hope you are able to find the ingredients, let me know if you have more questions. :-)
"Simplifried" said…
I agree, dialing down the heat on this dish should focus on cutting the chili padi amount. To my American ex-pat palate, these little firecrackers often overwhelm taste. The larger red chilis offer more in the way of flavor. I enjoy working with the dried ones for spicy soups & stews, especially legume based dishes. I once used two or three dried chilis in a cassoulet served with a traditional duck leg confit. It was wonderful with the beans, duck and fennel sausage spiced "just nice".
aileen ♥ motu said…
this dish looks so delicious! i wish i could be your neighbor so that at least i can smell the aroma coming out from your kitchen! i am very hungry now!
Unknown said…
Those prawns look good!
Food For Tots said…
Lately I came across many recipes using kaffir lime leaves. Never try before but sounds interesting enough to give it a try. Wonderful recipe and nice photo too!
Anonymous said…
I am glad I ran across your website, because my wife (Dr. E.) and I are prawn aficionados.

And your recipe sounds fabulous.

At the present time, HUGE fresh-water shrimp (do they qualify as "prawns") are available in our area for as little as $6.99 per pound.

You can bet that your recipe will be on our menu the first of the week. Thanks for sharing!
Shari said…
Those prawns sound super delicious!
Snooky doodle said…
wow what a nice dish. I like prawns anf those look amazing. I like the photos too.
Anonymous said…
I like the aroma of lemongrass. Paired it with kaffir lime leaves sounds even better!
Y said…
How interesting! Pity you couldn't take more photos - I would've loved to see more. Oh and those prawns look look like the kind of thing I wouldn't mind having for dinner right now!
daphne said…
Fresh is the best and I can see why lemograss will go so well with prawns! Well done!
Piggy said…
Simplifried - Agree with you that chilli padi could be overpowering at times. And I like dry chilli too, because it can be kept for long time and I can use it as and when I want it. :-)

Aileen - haha! If you're my neighbour, I'll send some prawns over. ;-)

Kevin - Thanks!

Docchuck - oohh, that's a great price for prawns! Give this recipe a try then, hope you like it.

Shari - Yes, these prawns are yummy indeed. :-)

snooky doodle - I like prawns too!

Didally - In my opinion, everything tastes great with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. ;-)

Y - I'll try to take pictures next time, I really want to show those awesome stalls!

Daphne - Yup, this dish tastes best with fresh prawns. :-)
Lynne Daley said…
I'll have to make this as I love shrimp, or prawns and your photo looks professional.
Stardust said…
Help me! ( panting, choking... ) I'm having a hungry spell, and I CRAVE for this incredibly dish before me!!!

It must taste so deli!!
Anonymous said…
This is a really pretty dish, and I love the flavor combination and use of prawns! You can never have too much sea food :).
Mrs Erg├╝l said…
shrimps are my favourite!

lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves are my favourite!

This gotta be my favourite dish!
Anonymous said…
looks like a fun day! i love farmers' markets - they allow me to pretend that i could have a green thumb too, if i wanted.