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This is a really quick and simple Penang Nyonya Style Asam Prawn recipe from mom. To us, asam prawn was always this version, and it wasn’t until I came to KL when I found out there is also theย asam curry version like the one at Hoowan, Kelana Jaya.

While both versions make use of asam (tamarind), they couldn’t be more different.

steps in cooking Asam Prawn
steps in cooking Asam Prawn


  • 600 gram big white prawn, cut away theย tentacles and legs
  • 2 tablespoon of asam (less than RM 2 per packet)
  • 2 tablespoon of dark soya sauce or cooking caramel
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • optionally, some greens like cabbage

glorious Penang Nyonya style asam prawn
glorious Penang Nyonya style asam prawn

Here’s the instructions:

  • mix dark soya sauce, sugar, asam, and prawn in a mixing bowl
  • heat up cooking oil to medium/high heat
  • fry till the shells starts to show someย caramelize a little
  • serve on a couple cabbage leave (just for presentation la)

haze enjoying some prawns
haze enjoying some prawns

Like me, some of you might hate peeling prawns on dinner table, but it is important to not cook this dish with prawns that have their shell removed since you will lose the juiciness of the prawn that way.

The seasoning will naturally sip into the prawn and using your mouth to peel the prawn also ensure that you get to suck on the caramelized bits off it. It’s fantastic. I recommend a good home-made sambal to go with this.

Discuss : KY cooks – Penang Nonya Asam Prawn recipe

  1. Michelle

    Ooh> I use that brand of assam jawa too!

  2. Seep not Sip ๐Ÿ˜ก

  3. i’d eat this with some kangkung belacan! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Assam prawns, these are the best! Used to remember my late grandmum in Penang always cook for me when I was younger.

    Can cook for me soon? ๐Ÿ˜› lol.. #justsaying

  5. this is one of my fave style of cooking prawns!

  6. not bad! pretty nice presentation ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Lovely! When you cooking for me and Cumi? thot u sed gonna invite us overrrr ๐Ÿ˜›

  8. how the seasoning sip the prawn? hahahaha

  9. KY, I am in KL till 6/11. I am at the McDonalds on Cheras road nearby Toyota and Honda dealer. I went to the pasar malam last nite. Where is a good place to makan near by?

  10. no wonder haze looked so happy!

  11. terror la u… i love love asam prawns cooked this way!

  12. Ahhhh my favourite! Very menyelerakan! My mom’s version does not use dark soya. (every household has their own version)

  13. wow…lovely recipe and looks yummy … maybe will implement this recipe in CCC cafe…kekeke

  14. Omg. You made my mom’s dish!! this is so awesome with nasi lemak ok? And yes the sambal is the one with the ooomph

    • neko-hime: oh yes, very hard to find with nasi lemak tho over here. i miss it!

  15. Regards!
    If marinates with sugar the prawns will burn easily.I cook without using oil,marinate with some water added.In a hot pans,pour and cover with lids,after a while add sugar.Stir and voila !!!But it depends ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • in: ooo i think u have a good point, i shall take that into account next time.

  16. learn something today that can cook without oil,will try, mum used to add dark soy sauce n sugar, taste yummy

  17. […] hand thanks for mom who actually works in a market, and since I ran out of asam to make my favorite nyonya style sam prawn, I went online to look for something simple to prepare, and landed on this fried prawns with soya […]

  18. sal2des

    ๐Ÿ™‚ this si awesome! i miss my grandma…

  19. Tried the dark soy sauce prawn today using your recipe..taste so yummy…tqvm

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