Barbecue Prawns marinated in chilli and soy

Barbecue Prawns marinated in chilli and soy
This recipe for barbecue prawns marinated in chilli and soy is perfect for summer. It was submitted to Kitchen Geekery by Dan May, author of The Red Hot Chilli Cookbook and whose Trees Can’t Dance chilli products are sold throughout the UK.
Dan writes ”Here’s a great Asian marinade that is really quick and simple to make and just perfect for prawns. Marinating in a bag is also an excellent way to ensure everything gets an even coating of sauce. My favourite aïoli is the ideal accompaniment for the spicy prawns and juicy tomatoes.”
Tip: Be sure to soak the wooden skewers thoroughly, preferably overnight, before making up the skewers for the barbecue. This will prevent them from catching fire while you are cooking!
Recommended Chillies: For the skewers – Jalapeño, Cherry Bomb. For the marinade – Thai-style hot red chilli or red Bird’s Eye.
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Servings 4


  • medium sealable plastic food bag
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water overnight


  • 500 g raw tiger prawns (peeled but tails intact)
  • 250 g cherry vine tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1  green bell pepper (deseeded & cut into 3cm/1in chunks)
  • 2 red jalapeños (deseeded and cut into 1cm pieces)
  • a handful of watercress, and toasted pita breads (for serving)


  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • grated zest
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar

fresh aïoli

  • 2  large egg yolks
  • 4 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 150 ml light olive oil
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1⁄2 lemon


  • To make the marinade, mix together all the ingredients and blend to a smooth purée using a hand blender. If you don’t have a hand blender, grind to a paste using a pestle and mortar.
  • Put the prawns in the sealable food bag and pour in the marinade. Seal securely. Shake vigorously and when all the prawns/shrimp look well coated, refrigerate, still in the bag, for about 2 hours.
  • Put the tomatoes and half the olive oil in a small saucepan and gently warm for 5 minutes, or just long enough for the tomatoes to start to soften. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • To make the fresh aioli, beat the eggs yolks in a large bowl with a balloon whisk. Add the garlic and mustard and beat through. While beating the mixture, slowly add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream. When all the oil has been added, the aïoli should have a smooth, velvety appearance. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and gently stir through. Refrigerate until needed.
  • Light your barbecue. Always do this in plenty of time to have built up a good bed of hot ashes or charcoal that have burnt down to a white glow with no visible flames. This normally takes about 45 minutes from lighting.
  • Take the refrigerated prawns out of the bag and place on a plate, reserving any remaining marinade. Thread the marinated prawns, tomatoes, sweet pepper and Jalapeños onto the skewers in a repeating sequence and continue until all 8 skewers are filled. Make sure you allow for enough of each ingredient on each skewer, and leave enough space at the ends of the skewers to handle when on the barbecue.
  • In a small bowl, loosen the reserved marinade with 1–2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil. Using a pastry brush, liberally coat the skewers with the marinade just before placing on the barbecue.
  • Cook for a couple of minutes on each side until the prawns/shrimp turn pink and are cooked through.
  • Serve with watercress, toasted pita bread and a good dollop of fresh aïoli.
There is evidence that chillies were being eaten in central and south America as long ago as 7,000 BC, making them the world's oldest condiment as well as one of the most ubiquitous today.