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

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes


  • 1 pound shrimp/prawns (yes, they are the same thing) - washed, deveined and patted really dry
  • 1 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


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


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.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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!!!!