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Lagoon Prawns with Ladies’ Finger Sambol


This is a delicious Sri Lankan seafood recipe in which grilled prawns sit atop a “raft” of okra. They are scattered with crunchy pangratata for an Italian touch, and surrounded by bright little balls of potato, carrot and beetroot.

You can also find the recipe on the SBS Food website.



2 potatoes, peeled, cut into balls using a melon baller
2 carrots, peeled, cut into balls using a melon baller
1 large beetroot, peeled, cut into balls using a melon baller
12 jumbo prawns
1 pinch pepper
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 lime, juiced

Ladies’ finger sambol
1 litre oil
300 g ladies’ finger (okra)
½ tsp salt
1 pinch pepper
1 lime, juiced

50 g butter
50 ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
2 thick slices bread, crusts removed, cut into small cubes
1 prawn, chopped
salt and pepper

tomato slices
finely sliced deseeded chilli
Maldive fish
finely diced red onion
6 gotu kola leaves, julienned



  1. Place the potato and carrot into a large pot over medium heat. Cover with water. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until just cooked. Drain and plunge into a bowl of cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a separate pot, over medium heat, place the beetroot and cover with water. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until just cooked. Drain and plunge into a bowl of cold water. Set aside.
  3. To make the pangratata, heat the butter and oil in a medium pot over high heat until the mixture starts to froth. Add the garlic. Fry until fragrant. Add the bread cubes and fry until the bread is crisped and golden, stirring occasionally. Add the prawn and fry until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and drain the bread, reserving the oil to cook the prawns. Chop the bread into smaller cubes and set aside.
  4. To make the sambol, heat the oil in a large pot over high heat until it smoking. Add the okra in batches, frying for a few minutes or until golden. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel. Place in a bowl with the salt, pepper and lime juice, and toss to coat. Set aside.
  5. Shell, devein and wash the prawns. Season with pepper.
  6. Heat the reserved oil from the pangratata in a medium pan. Season the pan with salt. When the oil is hot, add the prawns and fry for a few minutes, or until cooked on one side. Turn the prawns over and continue to fry for a minute, or until cooked through. Transfer prawns to a plate and set aside.
  7. Drain the potato, carrot and beetroot and add to the pan used to cook the prawns.
  8. Stir to coat the vegetables in the leftover oil. Season to taste. Stir in the butter and lime juice. Remove from heat.
  9. Place a small portion of the ladies’ finger sambol on each plate. Top with tomato slices and sprinkle with the sliced chilli, Maldive fish and diced onion. Top with prawns. Scatter over the pangratata and vegetables. Sprinkle with the julienned gotu kola to serve.


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