Okay…I know what you are thinking. Oatmeal is for breakfast. You can probably see the combination of oatmeal and butter, but oatmeal and prawns ? Perhaps they sound anything but appealing to you if you are not familiar with this dish. Butter oats prawn or known as (mai phien xia) weren’t something that I’d ever eaten in Indonesia either. So when the first time a friend brought me to this seafood place few years ago and ordered one of their famous dishes, which was what they called a Nestum cereal prawns. Named as such because the crumbs were made of Nestum cereal. Nestum cereal is popular in Asia, but I notice not so much here in the U.S. I got hooked until today. It is one of their famous dishes for reasons. My mom told me that she had this dish too while she was in Singapore and really liked it too. Mention this Nestum cereal prawns to majority of Asians and they will tell you how delicious this dish is.
So, you may ask now, what makes it so good ? (because you probably still have this image of eating oatmeal and prawns at the same time and that is just bizarre). I didn’t prepare this dish with Nestum cereal. I used rolled oats and corn flakes. The oatmeal isn’t cooked to how you would usually have it for breakfast. The oatmeal is stir-fried with butter and herb like curry leaves (which I’m so in love with), chili and corn flakes (for that extra crunch) until fragrant and crispy. The deep-fried shrimp are then mix in with the oatmeal mixture. This combination is AMAZINGLY good. Repeat, AMAZING! I named this dish butter oats prawns instead 🙂 you’ll get hooked for sure. If you ask me, I would insist on using curry leaves in this dish, unless you can’t find it. I have to admit it’s hard to find here in the U.S. But the curry leaves really makes the dish even more superb!!!
- 1 lb of jumbo shrimp (deveined but leave the shells and tails on)
- 3-4 red chilis- seeded and finely chopped
- A handful of curry leaves
- Peanut oil or grape-seed oil for deep-frying
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 cup of plain old-fashion oatmeal
- 1 cup slightly crushed cornflakes
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp milk powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat some oil for deep-frying in a deep pot, enough to submerge the prawns in the oil. Deep-fry the prawns until pink, golden and crunchy. Place on top of paper towel
In a bowl, combine the oatmeal, cornflakes, sugar and milk powder. In another skillet, melt the butter. Add in the chili and curry leaves and stir-fry until fragrant. Add in the oatmeal mixture and continue to stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add the prawns into the mixture and stir everything to combine. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Have a taste on the oatmeal mixture and adjust by adding more salt and/or sugar to your liking. It should be salty, buttery and slightly sweet
Dish out to serving platter and serve immediately with rice as part of multi-course meal