Kung Pao Prawns

Asian Inspired Prawns: Nose to Tail Eating

Craig McKnight wants to reduce food waste in tasty ways with his Asian inspired ideas. 

In my last article, I told you how much wonderful flavour you were wasting from your delicious prawns if you threw away the shell and head when you cooked them.

I lived in Asia for over a year, and people in this part of the world are past masters at squeezing every bit of flavour out of every ingredient. As I’m a keen cook I spent a lot of my spare time watching and learning how they made such delicious food from such few ingredients.

Here are two of my interpretations of what I learnt on my travels so that you can make a delicious quick dinner from every part of the prawn.

Kung Pao Prawns



Vegetable/groundnut oil
2 tbsp cashew nuts
200g raw tiger prawns in their shells
¼ tsp crushed Szechuan peppercorns
4 spring onions chopped2 garlic cloves – crushed
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp chopped chillies or chilli flakes – feel free to increase/reduce depending on how hot you like your Asian food
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornflour


  1. Peel the prawns, but keep the heads and shells. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok or non-stick pan, and cook the cashews until golden. Watch them closely as they can burn very quickly! Scoop them out of the pan, add the prawns and stir-fry for two minutes until pink.
  2. Remove the prawns, and then add the ginger, garlic, spring onions, chilli and Szechuan pepper and stir-fry for another two minutes.
  3. Remove from the pan. If you want to make the sauce even more flavoursome stir fry all of the heads and shells that you’ve kept after shelling the prawns for two minutes and then scoop them out of the pan.
  4. Alternatively deep fry the prawn heads until golden, blitz them until slightly larger than breadcrumbs and use this to sprinkle over the final dish.
  5. Mix all of the sauce ingredients with the cornflour and gradually add 100ml of water, mixing all the time to avoid any lumps and pour this into your frying pan or wok. If you’ve fried the shells and heads in the pan, deglaze the pan with this sauce to pick up those extra prawn flavours!
  6. Put the other ingredients back into the pan, stir together and cook until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Serve with your favourite noodles or rice.

Szechuan Prawn Noodles



Vegetable/groundnut oil
150g raw shell-on tiger prawns
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 tsp fresh ginger grated
¼ tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns
1 red chilli seeded and diced
1 pak choi shredded
4 spring onions trimmed and sliced
100 g cooked egg noodles
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar


  1. Peel the prawns, but keep the head and shells.
    Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a wok or non-stick frying pan and add the Szechuan pepper, chilli, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for two or three minutes until fragrant, taking care not to burn the spices.
  2. If you want to add a deeper prawn flavour to your sauce, you can stir fry the shells and heads with the spices and remove afterwards, or like in the recipe above deep fry the prawn heads and blitz to sprinkle over the dish at the end.
  3. Add the pak choi, ¾ of the spring onions and the prawns. Cook for two to three minutes until pink.
  4. Add the soy sauce and vinegar and stir to get all the goodness from the bottom of the pan. Add the noodles and stir-fry for another minute until the prawns are cooked through.
  5. Sprinkle the rest of the spring onions on top, together with the blitzed prawn heads if using. Serve and enjoy!

Written by Craig McKnight, a foodie currently living and loving life in Italy.


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