Crisp-fried school prawns

Jill Dupleix
Eat them shell and all: Crisp-fried school prawns.
Eat them shell and all: Crisp-fried school prawns. Photo: James Brickwood

These very small, wild-caught marine or estuarine prawns (Metapenaeus macleayi) can be fried and eaten heads, tails and all. Serve with mayo or aioli spiked with whatever turns you on - preserved lemon, dukkah, sweet chilli sauce, roasted red peppers, smoky chipotle in adobo, etc - and wedges of lemon or lime.


400g small raw school prawns

75g plain flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp smoked paprika

Oil for deep-frying

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 red chilli, finely sliced

4 thyme or rosemary sprigs

sea salt, for serving

2 tbsp aioli or mayonnaise, for serving

1 lemon or lime, quartered, for serving


1. Rinse and pat dry the prawns, and snip off any overly long whiskers.

2. Mix the flour, salt and paprika on a plate.

3. Heat the oil to 180C or until a cube of bread turns golden in about 10 seconds.

4. Mix the garlic, chilli and herbs together, lightly dust with flour, and deep-fry for 20 seconds until crisp. Remove and drain.

5. Working in small batches, coat the prawns in the flour and shake off excess (best done through a colander) and deep-fry quickly until golden, then drain. Toss with sea salt and scatter with the fried chilli, garlic and herbs.

Hot food: School prawns