Salted Egg Yolk Prawns

ly 3-4 years back and it’s still going surprisingly strong. Nowadays, you can pair salted egg yolk with almost anything, from savoury dishes to sweet desserts. One of my favourite salted egg yolk dishes has got to be Salted Egg Yolk Prawns 咸蛋虾球。I usually order this dish when having zi char but it’s not cheap (from $16 onwards). Cooking this dish on your own is relatively straightforward, but because salted egg yolk sauce is so sinful, I only make it once in a blue moon.

The main ingredients required are: large prawns, salted egg yolks, butter, garlic, bird’s eye chilli, curry leaves, evaporated milk, cornstarch or potato starch, egg (not in photo), salt (not in photo) and sugar (not in photo).

First, remove the prawn shells. Then slit open the back of the prawn and remove the veins. Please use large prawns for best results! Season the prawns with salt and pepper then let them sit in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the salted egg yolks for 5-7 minutes if they are not yet cooked.

Using a fork, mash the salted egg yolks as finely as possible.

Remove prawns from refrigerator. Beat one egg in a bowl and dip the prawns in the egg, then coat evenly with cornstarch/potato starch. Deep fry the prawns until just cooked (around 1 minute or less). Remove prawns and drain on paper towels.

Now for the sauce – melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Don’t use too high a heat or the butter will start to brown.

Add curry leaves and minced garlic in and fry until fragrant. You can also add the bird’s eye chilli here if you want it to be spicier. I added it later because some of my family members are not a big fan of spicy food. Also, don’t skip the curry leaves, otherwise the flavour won’t be as good!

Add the mashed salted egg yolks in and cook until well-mixed and frothing.

I added the chilli padi at this stage to reduce the spiciness of the sauce.

Add evaporated milk and stir the sauce continuously to combine all the ingredients together. Cook until the sauce becomes smooth and creamy. Lastly, add sugar and salt to taste.

Add the prawns in and mix well. I only used 8 prawns for this recipe and I ended up with a lot of leftover salted egg yolk sauce. I recommend using double the number of prawns instead!

Also, it’s crucial that your prawns are ready before you make your sauce. The salted egg yolk sauce, if left to cool for too long, will curdle slightly and also become clumpy. It’s best to work with the sauce while it’s hot.

And there you have a beautiful crunchy prawns doused in sweet yet savoury salted egg yolk sauce. This is my idea of the perfect salted egg yolk sauce – rich and creamy with a hint of curry leaves fragrance. Some places/recipes leave out evaporated milk in their salted egg yolk sauce so the resultant sauce is not as creamy. If that’s your preference, you can leave out the evaporated milk.

You can easily substitute the prawns with chicken, pork or even crabs to make a variety of salted egg yolk dishes! I’m even considering making salted egg yolk ice cream with this recipe.

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Salted Egg Yolk Prawns

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 5



  • 16 large prawns shelled & deveined
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 egg beaten
  • cornstarch


  • 5 salted egg yolks
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 bird's eye chilli deseeded & sliced
  • 4 stalks curry leaves
  • 200 ml evaporated milk
  • sugar to taste
  • salt to taste


  • Remove prawn shells and veins (by slitting back of prawns open). Season prawns with salt and pepper, then leave in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. This is to bring the temperature of the prawns down so that they will not overcook while deep-frying.
  • In a wok, steam salted egg yolks for 5-7 minutes if not yet cooked. Once cooked, mash as finely as possible using a fork.
  • Remove prawns from refrigerator. Beat an egg into a bowl and dip prawns into egg, then coat evenly with cornstarch or potato starch. In a deep saucepan, deep fry prawns until just cooked (around 1 minute or less). Remove and drain on paper towels.
  • In a frypan, heat butter over medium fire. Don't use high heat otherwise butter will brown. Add minced garlic, curry leaves and bird's eye chilli (you can add this later if you don't want the sauce to be spicy) and fry until fragrant.
  • Add mashed salted egg yolks in and cook until well-mixed and frothing. Add evaporated milk in and stir continuously to combine all ingredients together into a smooth and creamy sauce. Add sugar and salt to taste.
  • Finally, add cooked prawns into the sauce and mix well. Serve and enjoy while hot!
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