Spicy prawns, noodles & vegetables

by Beca Lyne-Pirkis

Beca’s Valentine’s meal for one

Although the recipe states that it serves two, I almost never make it for two people but make enough for me to enjoy one evening and freeze the other portion to have another evening. There’s quite a few ingredients, but don’t let that put you off as it’s relatively quick to make. The paste is fresh and worth making extra so that you can freeze it to add to stir fries. The perfect meal for one, to enjoy and slurp noisily.


1 small onion or shallot
3-4 garlic cloves
4cm piece of ginger
½ fresh chilli, red or green
Small handful of coriander
2 tsp rapeseed or coconut oil
½ sweet potato, washed, peeled and chopped into 2cm chunks
10-12 raw king prawns
Handful of fine green beans, washed and chopped into thirds
3 shiitake or portobello mushrooms, wiped and sliced
Handful of greens—bok choi, spinach, cabbage, washed and shredded
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
200ml coconut milk
200ml chicken stock
Fish sauce to taste

To serve:
Crispy shallots
Extra chilli
Coriander leaves
Peanuts or cashew nuts, chopped
A spring onion


Start by making the paste. Pop the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, coriander stalks, a glug of oil and a good pinch of salt in a food processor and blitz until you have a paste.

Prepare all your other ingredients before you start to cook, as the dish doesn’t take long to prepare.  Roast the sweet potato in a preheated oven set to 200C for 15-20 mins.

It’s up to you what you do with your prawns—you can remove the shell and head before cooking, but I prefer the activity of peeling the shells once the prawns have cooked.

In a medium saucepan over a medium heat, heat a little oil and fry the paste for 2 mins before adding the spices, followed by the coconut milk, stock and a couple of dashes of fish sauce. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.

The prawns will take around 4-5 mins to cook—pop them into the pan with the paste, along with the green beans and mushrooms. Next add in the greens for the final min to wilt. Once the sweet potato has roasted and has taken on some colour, add to the broth for 2 mins. 

To make crispy shallot rings for the garnish, simply slice thinly and lightly dust in flour and quickly shallow fry in a little oil, drain on some kitchen paper and pop to one side. Prepare all your other garnishes at this point too—slice the chilli and spring onion thinly, finely chop the nuts, wash the coriander and slice your lime ready to go.

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. The broth is ready when the prawns are a flamingo pink. Taste to check the seasoning, adding salt or more fish sauce and a crack of black pepper.

Serve the noodles in a large bowl and then ladle on the prawns, vegetables and broth. Finish with your garnishes of coriander, spring onion, chilli, chopped nuts, crispy shallots and a squeeze of lime.  Eat immediately—I recommend tucking a napkin into your top to prevent any splashes!

Recipe and images: Beca Lyne-Pirkis