Grilled Prawns with Sichuan Peppercorn Salt



i did a naughty thing.

last week my husband tromped off to Vegas for a 5-day vacation with this poker buddies.

i had an affair.

i heard the garage door close as he left for the airport. i waited 15 minutes to make sure he didn’t return, in case he forgot something.

i peeked out the window…..

my eyes nervously scanned the street…..

then tiptoed to the back door….

with one hand on the knob and the other pressed against the warmth of the door, i paused briefly to collect my breath. i turned the knob slowly, my toe softly nudged the door open. It was still early, and the morning light reached through the crack of the door to help me open it the rest of the way.

he was waiting.

for a moment, i thought i had heard the garage door again. i turned my head. but no, it was just my jitters playing games. i stepped out towards him and felt my heart flutter with anticipation and longing. speaking was not necessary – we both already knew what was going to happen. nothing was going to get in the way of our union. my hands deftly removed his dark blue, canvas, weather protection jacket and threw it on the ground. i didn’t care where it landed.

how handsome he was. so massively big…..continued after the jump….

68,000 BTUs and a side burner, and he was all mine for 5 days…..


Oh, don’t tell me that you guys were thinking it was going to be my lawn boy (cuz I don’t have one!) If you’ve been a regular reader, you’ll know that Husband doesn’t let me touch his outdoor grill. And I totally get that. Because I wouldn’t want him rummaging and rearranging my spice drawer, you know? It’s just a highly personal thing and that is fine. Our marriage work so wonderfully this way. But….he got to go to Vegas while I stayed home with both kids. Since this particular situation was not covered in our marriage contract, I took the liberty to amend the terms and wrote an addendum.

This guy helped me write it:

My first meal, Grilled Prawns with Sichuan Peppercorn Salt was so deliriously easy and quick that I didn’t even feel a tinge of guilt for using the grill. These were HUGE freshwater prawns that I found in the freezer section at the Asian market (Phuoc Loc Tho in Sarasota, FL).

A 2lb box of these beauties from Thailand for $16.00!! YEAH! I know! Each prawn was at least 7″ long head-to-tail, not counting the claws. HUGE! Now I know you might not be able to find the same, but feel free to substitute with smaller shrimp – just keep the shell on and skewer them for easy grilling.

I didn’t season the prawns, but simply left them naked to grill as I was going for simple, clean, elegant to pair with my Sichuan or Szechuan Peppercorn Salt.

If you haven’t tried Sichuan or Szechuan Peppercorn (SZP) (it’s spelled both ways) before, it’s really not a peppercorn at all, but rather a berry from an Asian bush. Put a couple of pods between your teeth and chew – you’ll get a numbing, tingly sensation all inside your mouth and lips. Contrary to what people think, SZP is not really spicy in your face hot. It has a citrusy, warming and woodsy aroma and flavor. You can find SZP at most Asian markets and some gourmet stores. If you are going to an Asian market where they don’t speak English, it’s best to print out a photo of the packaging in Chinese.

Click on thumbnail to get bigger photo.

I also have some online sources within Asian Flavored Saltspost. Lightly toast the pods and your home will smell incredibly wonderfully exotic. Grind with sea salt and you’ve got yourself a very versatile Sichuan Peppercorn Salt.

After a quick grill, unpeel a shrimp and dip just a bit into the SZP Salt. mmmmmm……perfect.


Grilled Prawns with Sichuan Peppercorn Salt

Servings: 4-6 Prep Time: Cook Time:
Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 2.43.06 PM

I skewered each prawn lenthwise, which prevented them from curling up on the grill. If you are using smaller prawn/shrimp (really, both words mean the same thing. i just like calling big, expensive shrimp, "prawns" as it's a fancier word that justifies its price) keep the shell intact and use 3-4 per skewer. Keep nice space between the prawns so that the flame can lick each prawn evenly.

To devein without piercing the shell, I used a toothpick and poked in right in the middle of the back between the shell segments and fished out the tract.


2 lbs prawns/shrimp, shell on
Sichuan Peppercorn Salt


1. Preheat your grill to super-duper hot. I let the grill preheat for 15 minutes on high.

2. While grill is preheating, make your Sichuan Peppercorn Salt and skewer the prawns.

3. Grill 1-2 minutes per side, depending on the size of your prawns. Serve with the Sichuan Peppercorn Salt as a dipping salt.

whatcha lookin’ at Willis?


Sweet Yogurt Sundae with Saffron & Pomegranate

Sichuan Peppercorn Roasted Chicken

15 Minute Asian Noodle


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Comments 77

  1. Qlinart

    Hello Jaden,
    This is my first comment on your blog. I’m from Montreal and have been reading your blog for the last 2 months. I’ve become a fan of your recipes, your stunning pictures and your stories. Every week I make sure not to miss your latest posts. You say on an earlier post, the steak one, that you are not an artist when you were explaining how steak becomes tender from massive salting…well, I have to tell you that you are wrong – you ARE an ARTIST. Your pictures make my mouth water and your cooking has become an inspiration to me. Looking forward to your next dish!

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  3. Cherry

    Wow, what a beautiful picture. I love how you made the peppercorn salt like a royal spice! Not to mention that the prawns looked mouth watering also.

  4. Melinda

    Like the new photo. Kind of a Asian Nigella Lawson look. I like it!
    I somehow hit a button the last time I commented on the steak that gave me all your comments when they came in. You are getting very popular (lots of men too!) I can’t see how you manage to keep up with all the replies.Hope it doesn’t get too much for you.

  5. Eileen

    Hi Jaden. I just found your blog today and I can’t get enough of it. I love your food and your funny writings. All your posts are not only filled with information and great ideas, but they are just so fun to read. Your blog has became one of my favorite sites after reading it for 20 minutes. Thank you for such a wonderful blog. ^^

  6. Nora

    Jaden, love your writing and humour! I don’t get to use the outdoor grill too. My partner calls it his Black Stallion. It gets worrying when a person starts to name their grills, don’t you think? πŸ˜‰ When we were looking for a new place to live, the first thing he was looking out for was where his Black Stallion could be placed…

    These prawns look so enticing. Thanks for the peppercorn recipe. I will make a big batch so that I can always have some handy.

  7. Wildd Redcherry

    Jaden, I just discovered you yesterday and I am a BIG FAN!
    You writing is casual yet informative, it’s like sitting down and having a chat with a very good friend.

    Your photography is simply amazing. My husband is in Korea til next week…not sure if I’m going to introduce him to you right away, but I am definately going to use your tricks. Once I got them mastered…then and only then…will I let him in on our little secret.

    Keep it up, can’t wait to see what your gonna show us next.

  8. radish

    What kind of a grill do you have that your husband is so protective? πŸ™‚ The recipe looks awesome (prawns are my favorite!) and I love the simplicity of it… When I was little, we used to boil prawns and just eat them plain with beer. Well, I had a little sip of it, being that I was 5. My parents had most of the beer. Some of the best food out there requires minimal spice addition – because it’s so good on its own. Love the photos!

  9. Dy

    Feeling stoopid. I just got back from the Asian market.

    Please tell me that those SZPs are the same as my bag of dehydrated Chinese prickly ash; it was the only thing in two spice aisles that looked even remotely like the picture. Dunno what I’m going to do with 113g of it though if it is…

  10. Paul

    Jaden, This in reference to your Sept 6 article in the East County Observer. I have not tried the Brining Method on my steaks. I buy my steaks in Oneco Meats on 15th Street. E. in Bradenton. Patty and Scott are the owners. He will cut what you want. I have an old grill pan that I use. I have a gas stove and oven. I do my steak on the grill pan 2 1/2 minutes each side I get the neat grill marks. I then put the steak in my old cast iron fry pan put it into the lower oven at 425 degrees for 7 minutes then I let it rest for 5minutes. My wife Diane likes Medium Rare and thats’ the way it comes out Just right. I have found that I have to stay right there and not go do something else while they are roasting. The timing is critical. for Rare the timing is 21/2 each side-5 roasting @ 425-5 resting, for Medium it is 21/2-9 roasting-5 resting. We have it with Bearnaise sauce and Boursin Creamed Spinach or twice baked potatoes. We are going to try your Garlic-Herb Butter.

  11. Paul Neumeister

    yOU DID A REVIEW OF MY sTUMBLEuPON SITE.. NAMED jEFFhESTER.. aLTHOUGH i AM not jEFF, HE’S ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS, AND i SCREWED UP JOINGING TWO AND A HALF YEARS AGO, AND NOW THERE is no way to fix it. (Like te caps I accidently turned on tat the beginning of this blog)… Sorry about that..

    I LOVE your site.. you have a wonderful attitude about the female essence.. I LOVE IT.

    I’d love to chat or email with you. You obviously have an open mind.

    I’m not trying to score.. I have a wife and 8 children.,.I’m just intrigued by your mind (really.. not a come on!)

    What kind of work do you do?

    Paul Neumeister
    [email protected]

  12. suzie

    Wow I have just come across this recipe, the photo looks amazing, makes me want to go out right now and buy some of these prawns and cook them on our grill, I will have to try out this dish on the weekend

  13. rxgator07

    i just read an article in LA Times about spot prawns. I think I saw them in a tank at the local 99 Ranch. They are like $15 a pound. They look yummy. Now I know what to do with the critters.

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  15. Andrea

    Well I tried printing your photo (thank you!) to take to the huge Asian market in search of the peppercorns, but they didn’t have them. Back to digging around on the Net. I do want to try these and your roasted chicken as both sound delish!

  16. Mai

    Wow…I am starting to understand the meaning behind the word: FOODP*RN!

    Thanx for sharing this wonderful recipe. I hadn’t thought about using SZP with shrimp. The funny thing is I have the thorny tree, berry and all, but didn’t know it’s common name. ~_^

  17. Marie @EpicureanJourny

    Wow! Loved your enticing intro to this amazing, yet simple recipe :-> Fab photos as well … I must try this soon as I have some fragrant Szechan pepercorns at home & some huge prawns just waiting for the perfect recipe !



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