Singaporean Cereal Prawns has buttery, milky notes with the unique scent of curry leaves, plus a bit of kick from the chili. One of my fave easy dishes!
It’s been many years since I’ve last been to Singapore, and frankly one of the things I miss the most about that country is the cuisine that is as diverse as its people. I love how just with the laksa alone you have a slew of different kinds. One of my recent favorite dishes is the Singaporean Cereal Prawns, sometimes also called Cereal Butter Prawns or 麦片虾 in Chinese. Popular Singaporean restaurants here in Manila like Shiok Shiok already offer Cereal Prawns on their menu, but I have a habit of wanting to learn to cook all my favorite dishes. And so here we are!
There are several different versions on how to make Cereal Prawns on the interwebs, but I was looking for a version that tasted like the one from my memory. At the very least, it had to taste like Shiok Shiok‘s version because I love that one to pieces! So after several trials, I happily discovered this recipe from Eat What Tonight blog, and it tasted exactly the way I liked it. Just buttery enough, with a toasted but sweet and milky flavor from the cereal, and that inexplicable scent and earthiness from curry leaves. The bonus is the spicy kick. I’d say this dish is great with rice, but really, this can be eaten on its own.
The hardest part about this recipe is probably getting the ingredients together. I had to order some Nestum cereal because I wanted to keep things as close to the real deal as possible. The recipe’s procedure itself is pretty easy and you can get it done in maybe 20 minutes. You’d think this dish went through some sort of complicated process to obtain its unusual flavor combination. Rarely do we see a prawn dish that is milky, buttery, savory, and spicy all together, and I know if you’ve never tried this before it’s hard to imagine, but trust me: IT IS SO GOOD.
Every time I make this, there are never any leftovers. NEVER. Not even a crumb of toasted cereal is left on the plate. Cereal Prawns just have this really addictive taste that comes from the cereal component, so even when the shrimp is all gone, you’re still going to eat up all the cereal crumbs. It’s just that kind of dish.
Although this Cereal Prawns recipe is really easy to put together, there are a couple of ingredients that you will need to acquire for an authentic version of the dish. First, you will need some Nestum Cereal Original Flavor. I bought mine from a store in Zamboanga through Shopee. It’s actually a cereal milk drink that has a similar taste to Nesvita, but they don’t sell Nesvita in the local market anymore. If you’ve found a similar-tasting alternative, then try that one.
I think the choice of the cereal does largely impact the taste of this dish so it’s best if we stick with what they actually use in Singapore right? You make this cereal seasoning mix using the Nestum, alongside milk powder, sugar, and chicken powder, then set it aside for the last step of the recipe.
This recipe calls for deep frying some shrimp, and since I am not a fan of that, I just try to use as little oil as I can to still be able to fry the shrimp to a golden brown. The coating helps to preserve the plump and juicy texture of the shrimp more than anything methinks. After the shrimp is done and the cereal mixture is prepared, it’s time to get down to business.
Now we come to the second ingredient you will have to look around for a little, and that is the curry leaves. My mom grows these in the garden so I am forever grateful that I can just cut off some sprigs from there whenever I’m in the mood for Cereal Prawns. If you’re going to purchase some, your best bet would be Indian grocery stores. These are essential to the dish so please do not skip this. You stir-fry the curry leaves in the butter with some chili until the butter absorbs all the scent and flavor of the curry leaves. I could sniff these leaves all day, so needless to say I loved the scent of that curry leaf-ed butter!
After that, all you have to do is throw in the shrimp, make sure to mix it very well so that flavored butter will coat everything.
And then you just pour in the cereal mix and toss the shrimp to coat again. The butter will act like a glue and make the cereal stick. Now all you need to do is let the cereal toast a little to make all the flavors more intense and to give the dish some texture. And that’s it friends!
I can’t tell you how much of a struggle it was for me to put this post together. It’s like the middle of the night as I am writing this and all I literally want to do is eat my screen.
Singaporean Cereal Prawns 麦片虾
Serves 5 to 6
For the Prawns
- 16 to 18 pieces medium to large sized prawns
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Cooking oil for deep frying
- 45 grams butter
- 6 bird's eye red chilli, chopped
- 5 sprigs of curry leaves, leaves detached and cleaned
For the Cereal Seasoning
- 50 grams Nestum Cereal Original Flavor
- 1 tablespoon milk powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon chicken powder
Fry the prawns
- 1. In a bowl, mix together the egg, flour, and cornstarch to make the batter. Stir until the texture is smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the Nestum cereal, milk powder, sugar, and chicken powder.
- 2. Heat up some cooking oil for frying the prawns. With the batter prepared earlier, coat the prawns, shaking off the excess. Fry in the hot oil until the coating becomes slightly golden and the prawns are red and cooked through. Drain and set aside.
- 3. In a separate wok or frying pan, melt the butter. Add the chopped chili and curry leaves. Stir fry until the butter is fragrant. Add the cooked prawns and stir gently, making sure each piece is coated with the butter.
- 4. Pour in the prepared cereal seasoning mixture, then stir once again to ensure all the prawns are coated. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes more until the cereals start to get toasted and become golden brown. Dish and serve hot.