Oatmeal Butter Prawns

oatmeal butter prawns

Have you ever visited a restaurant again and again to order the same dish…only to find out later that the particular dish is actually really easy to prepare at home?

That happened to me when I finally learnt how to cook Malaysian butter prawns at home!

Butter prawns have always been one of the favourite dishes that my family likes to order whenever we are dining at a Chinese seafood restaurant in Malaysia.

Butter prawns are really popular in Malaysian restaurants. Although not much has been documented about the origins of this dish, the flavours and ingredients of this succulent dish may suggest that its creation was partly influenced by Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisines. There are two versions of butter prawns in Malaysia – the wet and dry version. There are many different ways to cook dry butter prawns. Some cooks like to deep fry the egg mixture as they swirl them in hot oil, some like to use grated coconut or desiccated coconut, some like the Nestum cereal combination and others love to include instant oatmeal in their butter prawn dishes.

I used to buy the pre-packed mix for making cereal butter prawns but I later on discovered they consist of some artificial flavouring. So I decided to make my own butter prawns from scratch instead. After researching all over the internet for an easy recipe, I finally mastered the art of making butter prawns. This favourite recipe of mine uses instant oatmeal as it is easily available where I live and it is cheap to prepare.

Although the traditional butter prawns recipe requires me to deep fry my prawns in hot oil and use a lot of butter, I have modified the traditional recipe so that I use less butter and oil to provide a healthier option.

Here’s my recipe:


16 medium sized banana prawns (shells intact)
3tbsp cornflour
4 cloves roughly chopped garlic
2 springs curry leaves, separated from their stems
3 finely sliced dried chillies
2-3 tbsp unsalted cooking butter
½ cup plain instant oatmeal
2 egg yolks
2tbsp milk
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

• Peel off the shells of the prawn body and devein them. Make sure to keep the heads and the tails of the prawns intact as they will provide flavour to the dish.
• Lightly toast the oatmeal by dry frying them in a non-stick frying pan until the oats are lightly browned. Remove immediately to avoid them from burning.

toast oats
• Coat the base of a frying pan with cooking oil and heat till the oil is hot. You can test the heat of the oil by using a wooden chopstick. When you place the chopstick in the oil and you see bubbles around the edges of the chopstick, this means that your oil is hot enough to fry the prawns.
• Next, coat your prawns thoroughly with cornflour.

prawns in cornflour

• Lightly shake off any excess cornflour from the prawns before pan frying them on both sides until they are lightly browned. Do not overcook the prawns as they will become rubbery.

frying prawnscooked panfried prawns

• In a clean frying pan, melt two tablespoon butter.

melting butter

• Beat the egg yolks with the milk and pour gradually into the melted butter while swirling the mixture.

beating eggs with milkAdding eggs to butter

• Add in the chopped garlic, dried chillies and curry leaves. Continue to stir fry until the mixture is fragrant.

Stir frying butter mix
• Next, add in the oatmeal. Continue to stir the mixture until well combined. At this point, if you feel that you would like more butter, you can add 1 tbsp butter to the mixture. Then, add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

Adding toasted oats to butter mixMixing curry leaves chilli and garlic with butter mix

• Now that your oatmeal mixture is done, add in your cooked prawns and combine both prawns and mixture.
Adding prawns to oats mix

Combining prawns to oats mix

• Serve prawns immediately with warm rice and stir fried vegetables.

So there you have it – an incredibly easy restaurant style prawn dish that you can whip up in minutes.

Butter prawns for end photo

Do you have a favourite restaurant dish that is really easy to prepare at home? Or do you wish you knew how to cook some of your favourite restaurant dishes?

Feel free to share your thoughts here.

I guess that’s all for now. Hope you’ve been inspired to prepare this easy restaurant dish at home.

Till then, happy cooking!

Caroline Poh