Peppery Garlic Prawns

LentenGluten-FreeLow CarbFish and Seafood

Shrimp marinated in a mixture of garlic, pepper, lemon juice, and brandy, quickly sautéed and served over rice with a sprinkling of parsley.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My friends are so very patient with me.

BFF Steve-Anna first emailed me this spicy, peppery shrimp recipe, a favorite of hers, four years ago. And then again, at least two or three more times, when I declared I couldn’t find it, and would she please-pretty-please send it again.

Hey Stevie, we finally made it! Just in time for Lent.

Dang, what took us so long? Love the shrimp! It certainly packs a punch though, with all of the black pepper the recipe asks for. Feel free to cut back on the pepper to tone it down a bit.

The recipe also calls for a tablespoon of brandy. This I think is an essential ingredient for the recipe. (Actually with so few ingredients, they’re all essential.)

There is no substitute. If you simply cannot cook with alcohol, add a dab of butter to the olive oil. It will change the flavor of the finished dish, but it should still taste great.

Peppery Garlic Prawns Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 2-3 as a main dish, 4 as an appetizer

Menu suggestion: Goes well over white basmati rice (be sure to drizzle extra sauce from the pan over the rice), snow peas or sugar snap peas, and some french bread to soak up the garlic sauce. If you don't like the strong black pepper taste, you can back off a bit and it's still great.


  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns*
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp brandy
  • 1 lb. raw medium-sized shrimp, shelled, de-veined and split (tails on or off)**
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley

*Crushing the peppercorns can be done with a mortar and pestle. Or if you don't have a mortar and pestle, place the whole peppercorns in a small ziplock bag and place that bag inside another ziplock bag and smash with a hammer. Do this on a hard surface, if done on a wood surface, it can leave dents. The ziplock will also tear a bit, so take care not to lose the crushed pepper (why you double bag it).

** Trader Joe's has great frozen uncooked, shrimp, shelled and de-veined with tails on. To defrost frozen shrimp, place in a bowl of ice water in the refrigerator.


1 Marinate the shrimp: Mix together the crushed garlic, salt, crushed peppercorns, lemon juice and brandy. Add the shrimp and marinate at least an hour or up to overnight in the fridge.

2 Sauté the shrimp: Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. Add shrimp and garlic mixture and cook quickly, tossing shrimp. The longer the shrimp has been marinating, the less time it takes to cook.

Cook until the shrimp has turned opaque (generally only 2-3 minutes).

Garnish with chopped parsley.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Peppery Garlic Prawns on Simply Recipes. Thank you!


If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!


Creamy garlic prawns from Foodilicious Malaysia
Prawn fried rice from Lydia of The Perfect Pantry

Showing 4 of 24 Comments / Reviews

  • Deirdre

    This is absolutely delicious and so, so simple. I love pepper so no reducing the amounts for my taste. Thanks for all the tips on having more sauce. Excellent result! I will be re-visiting your site for other recipes if they’re all this good.

  • Francisco

    For those that want extra sauce quadruple the recipe, if you want to have french bread sop, add even more. The recipe amounts are lacking and you will be disappointed if you like extra sauce. Also, if you are a spicier type cook or eater, double the pepper. This is pretty tame for anyone that has experience with Asian or Mexican food.

  • Eileen

    Oh wow, thank you so much for this recipe. So simple, and so utterly delicious. I wonder how this marinade would taste with other fish? Just as good, I suspect. Even maybe with tofu.

  • [email protected]

    I also buy the Trader Joe’s shrimp and have been very happy with it. I normally make it with just garlic and olive oil but I love the idea of adding peppercorns, brandy, and lemon juice!

  • Steve-Anna

    When Elise told me she and her dad were (finally!) making this recipe, I suggested they serve it over rice and have french bread on hand to soak up the sauce. She commented that her dad said there really wasn’t that much sauce, which made me pause.

    I’ve made this so many times. I must admit I don’t think I follow the recipe any more. I’d say treat the recipe as a guide, and emphasize the flavors you like. On reflection, I think I go heavy on the lemon juice and the brandy. I also butter the rice (and the bread, for that matter). Both of those things will help off-set the strong black pepper flavor.

    Elise, I’m so happy you and your dad got around to trying it!

    Hi Steve-Anna, I doubled the brandy to 2 Tbsp. We still may want to add more. ~Elise

View More or Leave a Comment/Review
Peppery Garlic Prawns