Monday, 19 September 2016

#ewew cooks Prawns in Dark Soy

I'm a lover of seafood, prawns especially, and there's this "kon cheen har lok" (dry-fried prawns) dish that we'd sometimes order when we dine out.  But with skyrocketing prices of large prawns these days, this can be quite a costly affair.

So, to satisfy my craving for this dish, I'd rather cook my home version of kon cheen har lok or what I'd call Prawns in Dark Soy.....for only about half the price (these prawns cost me RM27)! 


500g (or about 15) large-sized prawns*
10 - 12 shallots
4 stalks of spring onions
1 tbsp dark soy
2 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt

*Note:  Make sure you get the right prawns....try to get those white prawns with thin soft shells (from the wet market) and not those black-looking ones from Aeon with hard shells.


The most tedious and time consuming part of this to prep the prawns (the actual cooking takes no more than 5 minutes).  Using a pair of scissors, cut off the tip of the prawn head.  Then, make a shallow slit at the back of the prawn (but do not butterfly the prawn) and devein.  This dish is usually made with whole prawns (with shells intact) as it's more presentable that way but I'm quite particular about removing the dark vein (aka intestinal tract) as I'd prefer not to eat shit (to put it more bluntly) if I can...haha! :D  Plus, splitting the back of the prawn allows it to absorb the flavours of the sauce and makes it easier to peel at the dinner table.

As I needed a fair amount of shallots, the 'lazy me' decided to buy these ready peeled ones (RM1.20 for this packet).  Just slice the shallots and cut the spring onions into 2-inch sticks.


Once the prawns are prepped, season with 1/2 a tsp of salt.  This is just to get a bit of flavour through the prawn during the frying process.  Heat oil till hot and fry your prawns until almost cooked.  You'll need a fair bit of oil to do this (I use at least half an inch of oil) as this will seal the prawn juices in.  As it takes only about a minute or two, I fry them in batches in a small deep pan (to minimise splattering if the prawns are not dried well).  

Once the prawns turn orangy, remove the seared prawns onto a plate.  It's alright if the prawns aren't fully cooked through as they will be twice cooked later.

Leave a little oil in the pan to saute the shallots over low heat.  Cook until shallots are soft and transparent but not caramelised.  You can add some chopped garlic, ginger and red chillies (if you like) but I'm all about keeping it simple, so just shallots will do fine for me.

Put the almost cooked prawns back into the pan and add the dark soy and oyster sauce.  If you're not comfortable with the prawns being so dark, you can always reduce the amount of dark soy.

Drizzle about three tablespoons of water and do a quick toss until the prawns are well coated in the sauce.  Do not cook for too long or the dark soy will turn slightly bitter.  Throw the spring onions in at the last minute and do a quick stir and it should be done.

My Prawns in Dark Soy is done....this is my take on kon cheen har lok.  It may not taste exactly the same as the ones I ate in restaurants but it's good enough (I think) for a home-cooked version (and cheaper too).

The oyster sauce brings savouriness to the dish....while the dark soy adds a hint of sweetness to the prawns.

The key ingredient of this dish (besides the prawns, of course) is the shallots.....and you need lots of it...the more, the better.  The shallots bring out the sweetness in the prawns and the sauce.

Let me show you one close that yummy or what? :)

And since we did a shallow slit on the back of the prawn, deshelling it is a breeze.  I don't even need to use my hands, just a fork and spoon will get the job done nicely.

But don't throw the prawn shells away that only after you've licked (or sucked) every last bit of the sauce off the prawn shells....kekeke! :D

And the prawn heads are the best parts.  They're good for sucking and you get loads of flavour and juices from them (I'm sorry...but sucking prawn heads is a very 'Chinese' thing)! *wink wink*

These prawns are best eaten with nom nom nom! ;D

It's a mouth-watering dish that you can put together with just 3 main ingredients.....prawns, shallots and spring onions...and at a fraction of what it'll cost you at a restaurant! ;)  Do give it a go...and I hope you'll be pleased with the results :-)

Serves 3 - 4 (as one of the dishes on your dinner table)


  1. I see one of your fairies looking longingly at your yummy prawns hee..hee.. I am not crazy over prawns especially peeling them at the restaurant. But I do eat them and once I get started heh..hee.. I keep going hah..hah.. Your kon cheen har lok will make many prawns lovers happy. I like it dark like that, somehow more color makes it look even tastier.

    1. Yeah, I'm not crazy over peeling prawns at restaurants either, especially those at wedding dinners...coz those are difficult to peel (without any slits on the back) with just a pair of chopsticks! >.< I don't mind peeling them at western joints as they're much easier to tackle with a fork and knife.

  2. I love these prawns cooked this way. I used to eat them often when I was a kid and licked all my fingers in dark soya sauce. Yummy! My mother was amused to see me eating happily....

    Now I miss my mummy. So sad.

    1. Hehe...I'm deeply honoured that you compared my dish to the one your mother (may she rest in peace) made for you. Mom's cooking is always the best! ;)

  3. tasty-looking! though gosh, if that costs you RM27, imagine what they'd be at the eateries!

    1. At least double in price, maybe even triple!! O_o

  4. I like this dish, but... but... it makes my hands dirty all the time. Too bad the restaurants never do de-shelled version of this dish. :(

    1. Unfortunately, the deshelled version doesn't taste as good. But hey, the pleasure is in sucking the shells (and heads) and licking your fingers (like what TM said.....hehe!).

  5. Yes, your close-up does look yummy!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the close-up! ^_*

  6. I seldom cook prawns as my hubby and Sam not really into it. My mom used to cook this quite frequent and I always like to lick on the sauce, so yum~

    1. You know what, I learned to cook this dish from my mom too. Since your family is not into prawns, better you money...haha! :D


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