Malaysian Coconut Prawns with Cognac + 100 Inches of Glorious Press

Malaysian Coconut Prawns with Cognac

And I thought there would be NO WAY that I could create a better shrimp/prawn stir-fry than Garlic Brandy Prawns

How wrong I was!  An armchair round trip ticket to Rasa Malaysia inspired me to add coconut to my already favorite recipe.  The original Malaysian recipe calls for adding plucked curry leaves to the dish…however, I don’t have a curry tree plant and if *you* had a curry tree, I’d be over in a jiffy like a sneaky monkey.

OH YEAH…if I’m going to modify the recipe…I might as well add some booze to it. A splash glug of Cognac, anyone?   If you have 15 minutes – you can cook this dish.  Seriously. It’s that simple and that quick.

With that being said, I’m going to experiment with a different format of writing recipes.  I’ve noticed that some people like all the background stuff, like the ancient Chinese secrets or more the “how-to’s”  Some just want the facts.  Gimme the recipe, baby.  Still others who are confident of their cooking and love to experiment – they just want ingredients and bare-bones instruction Bittman-style, almost cave-man like conversation.  How to accommodate all?

Minimalist-Style Recipe for Malaysian Coconut Prawns with Cognac

fry prawns halfway, remove.  fry garlic + chili + scallions, add butter + salt + sugar + cognac, reduce + prawns + toasted coconut


Just the Recipe Please for Malaysian Coconut Prawns with Cognac

Servings: Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 7 minutes
Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 12.29.59 PM

Jaden's Talkative Notes for Malaysian Coconut Prawns with Cognac
See if you can find unsweetened grated or flaked coconut at the grocery store.  If not, the Asian market will have something that looks like this:

Dessicated Coconut Why they chose to use the word "Desiccated" stumps me.  Such an ugly word!  But hey, buying the grated coconut pre-packaged saves you from the horrors of this experience Opening a Coconut But let's just say your Asian market doesn't have "Desiccated Coconut" - just use sweetened coconut flakes. Make sure that you toast them in a non-stick skillet and watch your heat. The sugar burns quickly. Do not add the additional sugar in the recipe.


1 lb shrimp/prawns (yes, they are the same thing) - washed, deveined and patted really dry
2 stalks scallions, cut into 2" lengths
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons Cognac (Brandy or Rum make good substitutes)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 tsp table salt)
3/4 teaspoon sugar (omit sugar if you are using sweetened coconut flakes)
few whole small Thai bird chili (if you like very spicy, chop)
1/4 cup grated coconut (try to find unsweetened coconut, but sweetened will work just fine)
2 tablespoons butter


1.  Toast the coconut:  In a dry, nonstick skillet, toast the coconut until golden brown.

2. Fry the prawns: In a large saute pan or wok, heat 2T cooking oil on high heat. When smoking, add the prawns.  Cook only half way.  Timing depends on size of your prawns. When they just start to change color, remove and set aside.

3. Stir-fry: In same pan or wok, you should have some cooking oil left over. If not, add 1T.  When hot, add the chili, scallions and garlic. Fry for 10 seconds until fragrant.  Add Cognac, butter, salt, sugar.  Reduce just a bit - you should have a nice sauce that will coat the prawns.  Add the prawns back in the pan.  Fry until prawns are cooked through.  Again, timing depends on size of prawns. For small = 1 minute; medium = 1.5 minutes; large = 2 minutes; colossal= you prob have a personal chef. Turn off heat, add the toasted coconut and immediately serve.


Did I mention something about 100 inches?  Well, I actually didn’t measure. It’s probably closer to 160,000 inches.  Thank you so very very much Jeff Houck and photographer Jason Behnken.  You’ve made me a local celebrutard!  I was in Tampa all day, and every single place that I stopped at, there it was. The Tampa Tribune on the table, on the countertop, in the kiosk, in someone’s hands, in the paper stands, folded sticking up in a bag, tucked under arms.

In every instance, I quickly, without getting caught, flipped the paper so that the food section was on top.

“Oh excuse me sir.  Do you have the time? Oh lookie here, you’ve got the Tampa Trib!  Oh my goodness, is that ME right here!?!?!?”

Yes, I was going to milk the entire day to its fullest.  There was a lot of hair flippage going on and way too much practicing of my autograph on scrap-paper.  I might as well make shirt with an iron-on image of my big fat head and parade around town with it on!  🙂

<– YES! The entire front page!!!  <– YES! The entire inside page!!!  For the story text, visit Tampa Tribune.

The other adventures of the day….including my quotes + mention of the blog in today’s Wall Street Journal…..well….maybe I’ll tell you another time….I’m still floating on cloud Trib.  Plus my head is swelling to the size of my 12-cup rice cooker.  I may need that dessicator after all.

Here are the photos from the evening……it was a MASSIVE FEAST!!!!

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Comments 56

  1. Dani

    What a great write up…Congratulations…you deserve it!!
    Can’t wait to try this recipe…I like easy and this looks great!

  2. Marvin

    Congrats once again Jaden! I read the trib article and am now more in awe of you than I was before. You look much too good for a 34-year old with such a long resume. How do you manage all your time blogging, teaching, cooking, and mothering? What is your secret, Lady?

  3. anh

    Yum yum! I love prawns cooked like this. 😀 this recipe rocks you know? Cognac, Jaden, you are fancy 😉

  4. Wandering Chopsticks

    Congrats lady. Well deserved.

    BTW, Just b/c I love teasing you. My parents dig for geoduck clams all the time during the summer. For free! Limit 12 per person. And you should see the Asians strapping babies to their back so they can add a dozen more geoducks to take home. Not to mention razor clams, Dungeness crab. And of course, I get my share of their bounty too. 🙂

  5. BerlinKitchen

    Hi Jaden,
    what a discovery your blog! I found a link at the german food-blog “delicious days” and I enjoyed your recipes and writing especially as my asian cooking is my weak side and I have so much to learn. As a gift here a modern version of a traditional german/bavarian recipy “Semmelkndel” or bread dumpling you would say.

    Greetings from Berlin,
    Martin “BerlinKitchen”

  6. tigerfish

    My blog is not as glorious as TT (Tampa Trib) but it’s still TF (tigerfish)…so I guess another 0.5inch (I estimated the height of my *salute* for you) of “press-time” for you in my blog would not make the milk overflow! LOL! If it does, can always use the excess for the coconut prawns! Hahahah! And I swear there was no conspiracy whatsoever. An awards’ post, awarding to the “queens”, and referring to Rasa, at all the same time! Wooo! Lottery time again ;p ?

  7. Meeta

    Jaden, this is so awesome! I am so happy for you. The prawns they look incredible. I have to say I am drooling here in Germany and it’s breakfast time!!

  8. Kat

    Great article! I am so happy for you too. Omedetoo! (Congratulations!) All the photos look delicious too 🙂

  9. wokandspoon

    Oh wow – great prawns! and I love the new minimalist-recipe style as well! Congrats on the write-up too! You’re a food-a-brity (ie celebrity!)!

    I couldn’t see the photos 🙁

  10. archana, mama of twins

    I am so glad you gave photography tips in the article. That was super useful. Foam board shopping I go!

    You deserve a big rice cooker head after that spread and article. Live it up!

  11. eastmeetswestkitchen

    Oh my! I am so honored to be in the presence of a food celebrity! Congratulations Sista! Can I be first in line for for your autographed cookbook, eh? Delicious looking prawns! 🙂

  12. LunaPierCook

    Kidding aside for once … a ‘Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen’ t-shirt would probably sell rather well to the folks who come visit here. Great paper stuff, lady! 😉

  13. Rasa Malaysia

    Oh girl…I am soooo proud of you…a cooking show on Food Network next okay? Well, you know me, I am more than happy to do guest appearances on your show, cooking Malaysian food, of course. 😉

    PS: You didn’t feed the shrimp to your kids, did you? Or is that your secret way of getting them to sleep every night? 😛

  14. Rose

    Jaden, that is just wonderful. I am really happy for you. All of this only in 6 months!! You are good!!!
    They did an incredible job on the article. Soon you will be signing autographs in your area.
    Just don’t forget your first fans!!! Hmmhmhm!! your shrimp dish will do it for me….and “cough” everything you cooked to the journalists. “cough”

  15. Lynn

    Sign me up for talkative. I get to learn and laugh when I read you chatty posts. And drool over your photos. Congrats on the write-up. It looks like the feast went fabulously!

  16. Meena

    Holy moly Miss Jaden! Just when I thought I was through with my overdose of Shrimps from the past week, here you go again making me want to die right in. You bad, bad girl you!

    Congrats on the paper, if I were you, I’d frame the piece and let my head grow twice the size of your rice cooker! 😉

  17. veron

    You look fabulous dahling! And the write-up was so good! I’m just tickled that a subsidiary of the company I work for did an article on you. They couldn’t have picked a more gorgeous gal for the front their food section — and with mouthwatering array of dishes too!

  18. Melinda

    Dear me, Jaden, you are on a lucky streak. I think you better play the ponies while you’re hot!
    All deserved praise though. The article is lovely, except they just had to put you age in the first sentence. (shame on them!)
    I am for the Idiot’s guide to Jaden’s cooking recipe. I like all the tips and steps included. Those prawns look so good and I am only 1 day in recovery from a store salad food poisoning! I’ve been really ill!
    Thanks for the photo tips. I can certainly make use of them as I have just got a new camera. I will try harder to photograph my food better. Cheers to you.

  19. Kace

    Where are all the pictures of you taking pictures? Or are those not available?

    I’d love to see your setup for your shoots!

  20. caitlyn

    Congratulations on the article, Jaden! It’s awesome that you accomplished so much in only 6 months.
    The prawns look yum, and I cracked up over the different versions of the recipe. I always like the chatty recipes. =)

  21. wmw

    Holy Beef! That’s such great news! A whole page…maybe I could fly over and be your assistant??? Haha..I’ll also handle a portable wireless fan that’ll blow you from the front, thus giving you the hair blowing in the wind look constantly! Congrats!


    This looks fabulous! I try to let myself eat come prawns every once in a while due to their cholesterol content and I love them. This is definitely something I’m going to have to try ASAP! Thanks for the recipe.

  23. SteamyKitchen

    Dani- you are going to be next, girl! you’ve got way too much talent to keep it on the INternet

    Marvin- must be the caffeine and loads of gummy bears that I eat!

    Anh – if i can impress u with Cognac….just wait until I bust out my recipe for drunken shrimp!

    WC- next trip we’ll go geoduck hunting and strap the skinny RasaM & MW to our backs.

    Martin- hi and welcome to SteamyKitchen! Thank u for the recipe.

    Tiger- thanks for the tag! Now I have to dig up more embarrassing stuff bout myself.

    Meeta- gonna try paneer again!!!!

    Kat- arigato! hmm…that didn’t sound like the right word. japanese word for thank you in this specific context is a diff word I think?

    W&S – fixed the photos!

    Kitt- only if i can come over and hang out in your lovely lovely garden!

    Archana- yeah but a 12-cup rice cooker??? thats a BIG one!

    East West- ha! but all my great recipes are here online! I have to come up with 100+ more for a cookbook and then can’t share them until it publishes….that would be torture!

    Ninja- my parents have one and I brought a little sproutling home with me. Its about 4″ tall and the leaves are SO tiny!

    LPC- but to be true to my “brand” – the shirt would have to come pre-stained with soy sauce

    RM- yeah my boys LOVED the shrimp…

    Mary- thank you!

    Rose- anytime girlfriend- come over and I’ll cook for u!

    Lynn- 1 point for chatty!

    Ellie- thanks!

    Meena- thank you and I really enjoyed that interview on your blog. Made me think about what my meal for one

    Veron- the Tampa Trib experience was fantastic. thank you!

    Melinda- I think I should go buy the lottery ticket, huh?

    Kace- I have a link for you up above

    Caitlyn- 2 points for chatty

    Lydia- thank you!

    WMW- is that the secret to superstardom? the wireless fan!


    JEP- Thank you!

    Rubber Slippers- OMG…in BULK?!?!!! You lucky gal!

    BBO- well, your style is more like elegant and refined

  24. Pingback: Sticks of Fire: a Tampa blog » Blog Archive » blog in the papers

  25. argus lou

    Wonderful, Mrs Steamy! Great story and pictures in the Trib. Now, I hope you get a TV cookery show. If you were in Kuala Lumpur, you’d get snapped up at once. ^_^

    Your previous post’s last two pictures of your sons were candidly priceless — the biting and the grimacing/crying & hand on the bitten shoulder as background to your younger son’s triumphant expression. They made my day, thank you.

  26. SteamyKitchen

    Joey- thank you!

    Isha- tomorrow night I’m making the prawns again…yeah, they were GOOD

    Sticks of Fire- thanks for the acknowledgement! Go TB bloggers go!

    Nathan- you know life is good when WSJ is the 2nd best thing that happened that day.

    Wokking Mum- Working on it!

    Argus- thanks my friend! though my boys want one of your smiley face pancakes!

  27. argus lou

    Dear Mrs Kitchen, you’re so nice to give my silly pancakes a plug. Hope your Andrew has fully recovered from the bitten shoulder/upper arm. Maybe a smiley-face pancake would help?

  28. Valli

    What a marriage of wonderful , full bodied flavours. Such a simple dish to prepare as well. It meets all of my criteria!!!

  29. Sarah C.

    I know, I am late! I am the 43rd comment after all.

    I really love the experiment with the various formats for the same recipe. Personally, if I am familiar with the technique, then the minimalist approach is best. And, though I am an archaeologist by trade, the history/story part is nice but not necessary for me. Taste is key!

    BTW, a note on coconut opening. I asked my dad (he knows best about most things though i often dont admit it) and he says that if you had drilled holes or hammered a nail into the three little dimples at the top, the vacuum seal would have been broke and it would have been easy-peasy to open.

  30. coffee

    YAY!!! I know a celebrity now!! 🙂
    Congrats Jaden…. the artical was a wonderful read…..

    BTW, no photograph of the photographer phorographing the photo….. something something?? 😉

  31. Amy

    Congrats! Sorry I’m so late on commenting. The feature was great! 🙂 And the prawn recipe is totally making me drool as usual.

  32. Ethan W

    I’ve found you from MWM’s blog and all I can say is this: I love your style! Truly something cookbook worthy, if I can say so myself. Really beautiful.

    Now I feel inspired to become a better cook and a photographer. (laughs)

  33. Krizia

    Jaden, yours is the only blog where I can actually get through its LONG ASS POSTS. You’re so entertaining 😀 I wish my school books were as easy to learn from as your writing -_-

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