Butter Prawns is a very delicious and addictive dish. The prawns are double fried and coated with a lovely buttery fragrance, with hints of curry notes. They are also surrounded by a floss-like egg texture that is equally tasty and very delicious.
This recipe is perfect for a celebratory meal, as its appearance is nothing short of show-stopping. It is also usually served at Chinese banquet dinners. It looks very intimidating, but once we have the egg floss technique down, this dish is very easy to make.
We start with the freshest prawns, and eggs that are available. After cleaning, the prawn veins’ are removed with the toothpick, before they are cut from the back. This helps both the egg floss to better absorb the prawns’ flavour, and the gravy can coat the prawns’ flesh as well.
For the eggs, try to go for large, Grade A eggs. This is because this recipe makes use of only the egg yolks, as their high-fat content brings out the best strips for the floss.
Butter is also important for the fragrance of both the prawns and egg floss. It enhances the subtle aroma of the curry leaves and garlic, making it truly an appetising dish. I used unsalted butter to better control the taste.
Speaking about salt, I have divided it for marinating the prawns and salting the egg floss. Only a little bit is needed, or else the floss itself will be very salty.
Before we start, heat about 500g of unscented cooking oil to deep fry the prawns over medium heat. This takes about 6 – 8 minutes.
Preparing the Butter Prawns
Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of salt over the prawns, marinating them carefully and evenly. Make sure to get in between the cuts as well. Flip the prawns to the other side and repeat with the other 1/2 tsp of salt.
Next, break the eggs into a small container and separate the yolks from the whites. Different cooks have different techniques, and mine is to scoop up the yolk, one by one with a large spoon.
I also break each egg individually in a different bowl. In the case the egg is bad, it will not contaminate the rest. This is optional. Set the egg whites aside as we will not be using them for this recipe.
Then, break the yolks and mix them well. Strain them to get only the liquids, over a small, dry jug, or a container with a pointed opening. Set aside.
Next, strip the curry leaves from their stems and add them to a small bowl. Put together all the sugar, 1/4 tsp of salt, chopped chillies and garlic. This will be helpful as we add all these ingredients to the egg floss later at once.
Set it aside.
Cooking the Butter Prawns
Now we can deep-fry the prawns. Immerse a pair of wooden cooking chopsticks into the oil. If bubbles form at the tip, it is hot enough. If not, let it heat up a little more and test again. If the oil is not hot enough, we can end up with oily prawns later.
When the cooking oil is ready, flour the prawns with 1/3 of the homemade crispy flour evenly. Repeat twice more with 1/3 of the flour each time. This achieves 2 things: first, it removes as much moisture from the prawns as possible. This reduces the frequency and impact of the oil splashes. Secondly, it coats the prawn with a very thin, crispy layer that is able to soak up the egg floss gravy for flavour.
Then, lower the prawns one-by-one into the oil, frying them for about 45 seconds each side. Then, flip them and let the flour become crispy and golden for another 30 seconds.
Remove from the oil, and set them aside on a strainer over a bowl. This is to allow the excess oil to drip off. Switch off the heat.
Cooking the Egg Floss
Now we will make the crispy egg floss in a separate pan. This requires constant slow stirring to prevent the butter from burning, and to make very crispy egg floss. Note that butter burns at XX degrees Celsius, so make sure to control the heat well.
Prepare a strainer with a heat-resistant bowl underneath. This is for the egg floss mixture when it’s ready.
Bring the deep-fried prawns within hand’s reach. When the egg floss mixture is ready, we want to immediately add the prawns in.
Pour 250g of unscented cooking oil into the pan over medium heat. As it is heating up, add all the butter, and continuously stir with a heatproof spatula, until the butter has fully melted and combined with the oil.
After about 1.5 minutes, a lovely fragrance will be released, and bubbles will start to form. Please make sure the temperature is not too hot until the oil mixture starts to smoke.
When the oil mixture has started foaming vigorously, increasing the stirring speed to medium. We will now slowly pour the strained egg yolks over as we stir. A jug works best here as it is able to produce a long, thin trickle of egg yolk.
This makes our floss form a desirable length and thickness later. Keep going until all the egg yolks have been poured. Be careful of any oil splashes.
See the egg floss are forming beautifully.
Next, while still stirring, add the small bowl of curry leaves and other ingredients. Then, keep stirring at a constant medium-fast speed, while observing the egg floss mixture every minute or so. This is crucial for the perfect egg floss texture.
The egg floss mixture will go from producing large, thin bubbles to a thick layer of foam that covers the egg floss within 5 minutes of constant stirring. Every 30 seconds, stop stirring briefly and lift the spatula. We are looking for the phase when the foam continues rising as though it will bubble over the pan.
For me, after 4 minutes and 10 seconds, the large bubbles will have turned into a thick foam. However, lifting the spatula shows that the foam dissipates almost immediately. If this happens, the egg floss mixture just needs about 30 seconds more.
After 30 seconds, lifting the spatula shows that the foam layer rises and doesn’t fall. At this stage, it’s ready.
Add all the deep-fried prawn and stir, coating each of them evenly with the egg floss mixture for about 15 seconds.
Then, with a pair of tongs, carefully remove all the prawns, resting them on a strainer to drip off the excess oil. Set aside.
Stir the egg floss mixture. Switch off the heat and pour the egg floss into the prepared strainer. Set it aside and let it rest for 4-5 minutes for the excess oil to flow out, or until the floss dries up.
Then, gently stir to remove the excess oil from the egg floss, and it’s done. It should be dry and fluffy. Now it’s time to assemble!
Assembling the Butter Prawns
Arrange the prawns on a serving plate, and gently drizzle it with the egg floss. And, our Butter Prawns with Egg Floss is done!
Serve immediately while it’s still hot.
This meal is perfect with rice. The prawns are tender and juicy, every mouthful filled with buttery goodness. The egg floss is addictive, crispy, slightly sweet and tasty.
I don’t recommend keeping this dish as the prawns can become soggy, while the egg floss will gradually become soft and limp.
Hope you and your family will enjoy this Butter Prawns with Egg Floss dish at home. Happy cooking!
Butter Prawns with Egg Floss
- Silicone Spatula
- Large strainer
- Food Tongs
- Stainless Steel Basket
- Soup Ladle
- 400 g prawns, cleaned & deveined, with shells on
- 7 eggs
- 250 g cooking oil, unscented
- 1/2 chilli, bird's eye, chopped
- 5 stalks curry leaves, washed
- 60 g butter, unsalted
- 1 tsp salt, for the prawns
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp garlic, washed, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt, for the egg floss
- 3 tbsp crispy flour, tempura, or homemade
- 500 g cooking oil, for deep-frying
- Preheat the cooking oil for deep-frying over medium heat.
- Marinate the prawns with 1/2 tsp of salt on one side. Turn to the other side and marinate with another 1/2 tsp of salt.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Whisk all the egg yolks together. Strain the egg yolks over a jug. Set aside.
- Remove the curry leaves from the stems and add them to a small bowl. Pour sugar, 1/4 salt, half of the chilli, and garlic. Set aside.
- Test the cooking oil. If it's hot enough, sprinkle and rub the prawns with 1/3 of the crispy flour. Repeat twice more until the flour is finished.
- Deep fry the prawns for 45 seconds on each side. Then, fry for another 30 seconds on the last turn, or until the flour is crispy and golden brown. Remove from the oil with a strainer, shaking off the excess. Rest on a cooling rack. Switch off the heat.
- In a separate pan, switch on heat to medium. Pour all 250g of cooking oil and all the butter. Continuously stir until the butter has melted and the mixture starts to bubble.
- Increase the speed of stirring while slowly pouring in the egg yolks and the curry leaves mixture. Continuously stir for 4 minutes and 40 seconds, or until the egg floss mixture bubbles up and immediately rises again when the stirring is stopped.
- Add all the prawns into the egg yolk mixture, and mix evenly for 15 seconds.
- Strain the prawns from the oil, shaking to remove the excess oil.
- Switch off the heat. Pour the egg floss into a wire mesh basket with a bowl underneath to catch the excess oil. Let it rest for 4-5 minutes for all the oil to drip off.
- Arrange the prawns on a serving plate. Sprinkle the strained egg floss over the prawns. Serve immediately.