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Cooked Prawns in a Delicious Tomato Sauce

Gabriel Wilson loves to cook, eat tasty foods, and drink a glass of wine—without having to do the washing up.

Cooked prawns in a tomato sauce

Cooked prawns in a tomato sauce

Prawns have been one of my favorite foods since I was very young. I remember stealing a large prawn dripping in garlic butter and lemon juice off my father's dinner plate and relishing in the juicy soft flesh of the prawn. This indulgent moment resulted in a love affair that has spanned decades and needless to say my young self declined fish fingers forever more. Not that there's anything wrong with fish fingers!

I enjoy retro prawn recipes. Oh, yes! I am an avocado and prawn lover. A prawn cocktail smothered in Marie-Rose sauce served in a cocktail glass is my Christmas day special and a regular Sunday lunch starter. However sometimes I push the boat out just a little bit, and this deliciously simple recipe is my go-to. Let's get on with the recipe and set sail.

Cooked prawns in a tomato sauce

Cooked prawns in a tomato sauce

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

30 min

35 min

4 servings (6 prawns per serving)


For the sauce:

  • 1 (450-gram) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup or tomato purée
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, sliced and diced
  • 1 small red chilli, pierced several times
  • Good handful of fresh herbs (e.g., coriander, parsley and basil)
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Sliced lemon to serve

For the prawns:

  • 24 frozen prawns, with shell
  • Good handful of fresh parsley
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (crush the garlic with a meat mallet or a wide bladed knife
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 1 slice orange
  • Good sprinkle sea salt
  • 5 whole black pepper corns


Cook the prawns:

  1. Place the prawns in a large deep-bottomed pot, adding all the ingredients listed for the prawns.
  2. Cover the prawns with cold water and bring to a simmer.
  3. Simmer the prawns until they blush pink and float.
  4. Strain off the water, keeping a small cup of water back.
  5. Place a lid on the pot and leave to one side.

Cook the sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large wide pan. Add in the garlic and onion and lightly fry for 5-7 minutes. Do not brown.
  2. Add in the chopped tomatoes, ketchup and the small red chilli. Cook the sauce for 20 minutes.
  3. Add in your cooked prawns and a little of the prawn water to loosen the sauce.
  4. Chop the fresh herbs and add to the sauce. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serve with garlic bread to enjoy all that delicious sauce.
I like to serve this dish with bolo de caco, a traditional island garlic bread.

I like to serve this dish with bolo de caco, a traditional island garlic bread.

Cook's Tips

  • I like my sauce a little sweet, with a little heat and just enough garlic so that I can taste the garlic—but I don't want to smother the juicy prawn flavour, which is of course the star of the dish.
  • If you like a little extra heat, dice up the chilli but omit the seeds. The seeds will make the dish too hot and you will lose the more subtle flavors.
  • A splash of sweet chilli sauce can be used if you don't have any red chilli peppers.
  • If you don't have ketchup or tomato purée in your store cupboard, add half a teaspoon of white sugar.

© 2022 Gabriel Wilson