December 2010

Devilled Prawns A Rich And Sizzling Delight
December 2010

This dish makes for a glamorous and flavoursome addition to a spread. Particularly for a festive lunch or dinner it will summon that special touch with its lively taste and appearance.

Prawns are a favoured seafood dish and can be served in many ways to compliment their taste. While the origins of this dish, as in the case of many dishes, may have been derived or inspired from another, it has been modified, to suit local tastes. Hence its preparation is authentically Sri Lankan in style, the term "Devilled" has been derived from a reference to the devil dances - a cultural heritage of the country. It is that which inspires fear coupled with excitement and the dish with its lively colours, predominantly red, signals its spicy and rich taste. However, much of its colour is from the addition of tomatoes (or even sauce if one chooses) and the addition of chilli can be altered to personal preference.  

A devilish mix

1. Jumbo king prawns (cleaned) 250g

2. chopped onion - 30g

3. chopped garlic - 5g

4. chopped ginger -  2.5g

5. chopped tomato - 50g

6. chilli pieces - 1 tbsp

7. curry leaves - 1 tsp

8. pandan leaves - ½  inch

9. cinnamon - ½ inch

10. leeks - 40 g

11. tomato wedges - 30 g

12. onion wedges - 40 g

13. green pepper - 40 g

14. red pepper - 30 g

15. green chilli - 1 no

16. salt - ½ tsp

17. oil - 2 tbs

18. lime juice - 1 tsp



  • Aside from the tomato wedges, the chopped tomato ensures the dish its lustrous texture.
  • This dish serves three.
  • Cuttle fish can also be prepared in this manner.

Step by step

1. Apply salt and lime to the cleaned prawns and set aside

2. Heat the oil and add the chopped onion, curry leaves, pandan leaf and cinnamon and cook till golden brown

3. Add the garlic, ginger,  chilli pieces and sauté

4. To this mix toss in the chopped tomato and cook for one minute on half flame

5. Now add the prawns and cook for one minute

6. Add leeks, onion wedges, green chilli, red and green peppers to the mix and sauté

7. Finally add tomato wedges, sauté and add salt to taste

8. Turn off flame before the tomato overcooks and add lime to taste

Chef Publis de Silva

Chef Publis first joined the Mount Lavinia Hotel in 1956, where from his humble beginnings he rose to become the executive chef for 35 years. At present he completes 55 years at the hotel and along with his travels all over the world covering 26 countries to bring Sri Lankan cuisine to the limelight, he has mastered the culinary arts and earned a doctorate in the field as well.  He has many feats to his name including the making of the largest milk rice dish in the world. The promotion of local cuisine and his love for authentic Sri Lankan dishes are at the heart of his many endeavours.