Bo ssam-style barbecued king prawns

Neil Perry makes Korean lettuce wraps with barbecued king prawns.
Neil Perry makes Korean lettuce wraps with barbecued king prawns. Photo: William Meppem

All these Korean flavours are truly delicious together. I love any kind of meat or seafood combined with the dipping sauce, salad and lots of kimchi wrapped in lettuce. To make this dish vegetarian, cut firm tofu into squares and prepare as you would the prawns – it’s just as tasty – and check that the kimchi doesn’t include oysters or dried shrimp.


12 large uncooked king prawns, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 cups store-bought kimchi

4 cucumbers, cut into sticks

1 butter lettuce, in leaves

4 green chillies, sliced

steamed white rice, to serve


2 tbsp doenjang Korean soybean paste*

2 tbsp honey

1½ tbsp grated ginger

1 tsp gochujang Korean chilli paste*


1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp castor sugar

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)*

1 tbsp sesame oil

½ bunch spring onions, cut in 4cm lengths, julienned

Dipping sauce

1½ tbsp sesame seeds

½ cup doenjang Korean soybean paste*

1½ tbsp grated onion

1½ tbsp sesame oil

3 tsp grated ginger


1. Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced).

2. To make the marinade, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix with the king prawns. Leave for an hour before cooking.

3. Place the sesame seeds for the dressing and dipping sauce on a tray. Toast for 5 minutes.

4. To make the salad, dissolve sugar and salt in the vinegar, then whisk in the 1 tsp of toasted sesame seeds, gochugaru and sesame oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper, then mix the dressing with the sliced shallot.

5. To make the dipping sauce, combine all ingredients (including the 1½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds) in a bowl and season to taste.

6. Barbecue or sauté the prawns over high heat in the vegetable oil until just medium rare inside and a little blackened or heavily coloured on the outside, about 5 minutes.

7. Place the prawns in a pile on a large platter and arrange with the vegetable accompaniments, lettuce leaves, chilli, sauces and steamed rice for people to make their own wraps at the table.

* Available in most Asian grocery stores.