Anna Hansen's sugar-cured prawn omelette with smoked chilli sambal

15 December 2009
Anna Hansen's sugar-cured prawn omelette with smoked chilli sambal

This dish uses dried shrimps, the most essential ingredient for Modern Pantry chef Anna Hansen. For more, see our article, Ingredients - These are a few of my favourite things.

"This is a great and versatile South-east Asian preparation I first learned of from my great friend and fellow chef, Gianni Vatteroni. It has endless incarnations and can include many other flavourings and spices. Stored in a fridge, it lasts for several months."

(serves six)

For the smoked chilli sambal

  • 2.5 litres rapeseed oil for frying
  • 250g sliced red peppers
  • 250g sliced white onions
  • 250g whole ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 80g garlic, sliced
  • 80g peeled ginger, julienned
  • 25g dried shrimps, ground finely in a spice grinder
  • 1tsp chipotle chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 125ml tamarind paste
  • 40ml fish sauce

For sugar-cured prawns

  • 18 tiger prawns, peeled, split lengthways and deveined
  • 1 lemon grass stalk, bashed gently and chopped in to 4
  • 30g peeled ginger, sliced
  • 3 lime leaves, shredded
  • 1tsp chipotle chilli flakes
  • 1tbs soy sauce
  • 1tbs fish sauce
  • 100g sugar
  • 15g Maldon sea salt

For the omelettes

  • 12 eggs
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, sliced
  • 1 green chilli, sliced super finely into rounds
  • 1 bunch of coriander, picked
  • 3tsp smoked chilli sambal
  • 24 sugar-cured prawns


To make the sambal, heat the oil in a pot to 180e_SDgrC then deep-fry the red peppers, onions and cherry tomatoes separately in small batches until they are a deep golden brown, almost burnt-looking. Drain on paper towel and then tip in to a large bowl. Fry the ginger and garlic, in separate batches also, until just golden brown.

In a small frying pan, fry the ground shrimps in a little of the fryer oil until aromatic, add all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Now blitz the sambal in batches in a food processor until almost smooth. Allow to cool. Place in an air-tight container and refrigerate until needed. It will last in your fridge for several months.

Mix all ingredients for the sugar-cured prawns together well and leave to marinate for 24 hours, then rinse and pat dry. Store the prawns in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to use. Shelf life: six days.

For each omelette, whisk two eggs in a small bowl with 1/2tsp of sambal which provides the seasoning, so avoid the urge to add salt. Heat a knob of butter in an omelette pan over moderate heat and when it begins to sizzle add six prawn halves. Toss these in the pan until almost cooked then pour in the eggs. Swirl the pan once or twice then reduce the heat. Sprinkle over three green chilli rounds and a small handful of spring onions. When the eggs look almost cooked, fold the omelette in half. Slide on to a plate and keep warm while you repeat the process.

To serve, garnish with picked coriander and a spoonful of the sambal.

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