Aussie Delight: Grilling Australian Prawns on the Barbie

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G’day mates! Me mates and I just got back from a refreshing dip in the billabong with my trusty dingo! Seems like it’s about time to slap some prawns on the barbie! Crikey!

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t spent several years of my childhood (and the last few hours) speaking in an Australian accent. When I was little, my ultimate goal in life was to move to Australia and become Steve Irwin. Now, as I sit here gazing outside at the remnants of last night’s snowstorm, there’s pretty much no other place I’d rather be than experiencing some down-under action.

Turns out, the furthest city from Akron, Ohio is actually Perth, Australia. So I’ll just pretend that’s where I’m writing this from. A girl can dream…

While this recipe may not be entirely “native Australian,” I came across it in several of my searches for what constituted “Australian cuisine.” As it turns out, our mates from down under enjoy similar dishes to Americans – burgers, seafood, desserts… it’s like we’re polar opposites in terms of accent and dangerous animals, but not in terms of food.

mango shrimp recipe

Australian Prawns on the Barbie is a classic dish that has become synonymous with Australian culture. The dish consists of fresh prawns marinated in a flavorful mixture of herbs and spices, then grilled on a barbecue until they are perfectly cooked. The dish is not only delicious but also easy to prepare, making it a popular choice for backyard barbecues and beach parties.

The tradition of cooking prawns on the barbecue, or “barbie,” has been around in Australia for decades. The dish gained international fame in the 1980s when the Australian Tourism Commission launched an advertising campaign featuring the phrase “put another shrimp on the barbie.” Although Australians typically refer to the dish as “prawns on the barbie,” the phrase has become a popular catchphrase around the world.

Australian Prawns on the Barbie can be served as an appetizer or a main course, depending on the occasion. The dish pairs well with a variety of sides, including salads, grilled vegetables, and crusty bread. Whether you are hosting a backyard barbecue or a beach party, Australian Prawns on the Barbie is a dish that is sure to impress your guests.

Why Australian Prawns on the Barbie?

Australians love their prawns, and they love their barbies. So it’s no surprise that putting prawns on the barbie has become an iconic Australian tradition. But why exactly do Australians love prawns on the barbie so much?

For starters, prawns are a staple of the Australian diet. Australia is surrounded by water, so it’s no surprise that seafood is a popular choice for Australians. Prawns are particularly popular because they are delicious, easy to cook, and versatile. They can be boiled, fried, grilled, or barbecued, making them the perfect choice for any occasion.

But it’s not just the taste of prawns that makes them a popular choice for the barbie. Cooking prawns on the barbie is a social event, and Australians love nothing more than getting together with friends and family for a good old-fashioned BBQ. Cooking prawns on the barbie is a great way to bring people together, and it’s a tradition that has been passed down through generations of Australians.

Another reason why Australians love prawns on the barbie is that they are a sustainable choice. Australia has some of the most sustainable prawn farms in the world, and many Australians are conscious of the impact that their food choices have on the environment. By choosing Australian prawns, Australians can enjoy delicious food while also supporting sustainable farming practices.

Choosing the Right Prawns

When it comes to cooking Australian Prawns, choosing the right prawns is crucial to ensure the best flavor and texture. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting prawns for your next BBQ.

Fresh or Frozen

Fresh prawns are always the best option, but they can be hard to find and expensive. Frozen prawns are a more convenient and affordable option, but they can vary in quality depending on how they were frozen and stored.

When buying frozen prawns, look for ones that were flash-frozen immediately after being caught, as this helps preserve their flavor and texture. Avoid prawns that have been thawed and refrozen, as this can affect their quality.

Size Matters

The size of the prawns you choose will affect both the cooking time and the flavor. Larger prawns tend to have a stronger, sweeter flavor, while smaller prawns are more delicate and mild.

When cooking prawns on the Barbie, it’s best to stick with medium to large-sized prawns, as they are easier to handle and cook evenly. Jumbo-sized prawns can be tough and chewy if not cooked properly.

Deveining and Shelling

Before cooking prawns on the Barbie, it’s important to devein and shell them properly. Deveining involves removing the dark vein that runs along the back of the prawn, which can be gritty and unappetizing.

Shelling prawns can be time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort for the best flavor and texture. Leaving the shell on can protect the prawn from drying out, but it can also make it harder to cook evenly.

To save time, consider buying prawns that have already been deveined and shelled. This can be a convenient option, but be sure to check the quality and freshness before buying.

australian prawns

Making Shrimp On the Barbie

  • Jumbo tiger shrimp/prawn: main protein source, soaked and seasoned before being seared in chutney marinade
  • Mango chutney: sweet and spicy sauce that serves as the base for the marinade
  • Mango jelly or preserves: adds sweetness to the marinade
  • Yellow curry: adds flavor and spice to the marinade
  • Garlic: adds pungent flavor to the marinade
  • Ginger: adds a subtle spicy note to the marinade
  • Fresh parsley: adds freshness and a hint of herbaceousness to the marinade
  • Lemon juice: adds acidity and brightness to the marinade
  • Lime juice: adds a tangy flavor to the marinade
  • can be grilled and served as a garnish or side dish

Slap Some Shrimp on the Barbie!

  1. Prep the prawns by removing their shells and soaking them in a cool salt water bath.
  2. Mix together the mango chutney, mango jelly, yellow curry, minced garlic, grated ginger, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and lime juice in a small bowl to create a marinade.
  3. Season the soaked prawns lightly with cracked pepper and add them to the marinade.
  4. Sear the prawns on a grill pan until they turn pink and start to brown.
  5. Optional: grill mango slices to serve as a garnish or side dish.
  6. Enjoy!

If you’re grilling, thread your prawns evenly on a skewer, alternating between lemon and lime wedges, pearl onions, bay leaves, and mango slices. This will give your dish an extra burst of flavor and color. If you’re using a grill pan, skip the skewer and place your prawns directly on the preheated grill pan. Cook them for about 30 seconds to a minute per side until golden lines have crossed your prawn and it has turned red in color.

prawn marinade

While your prawns are soaking, it’s time to make the marinade. In a small bowl, combine mango chutney, mango jelly or preserves, yellow curry, minced garlic, grated ginger, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and lime juice. Mix it all together and then pat dry your prawns before placing them in the marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight.

I’m not sure what “get stoned like the crows” means, but what I’m trying to say is “stir the mixture well and then sit back in amazement.” How am I doing here Aussies? Is this authentic enough for you? Are you stoked? (Because clearly, I’m channeling Barry here.)

After your prawns have soaked, season them lightly with cracked pepper (and maybe a touch more salt if you’re feeling daring), and then add them to the chutney marinade. Sear the prawns on a grill pan (or a real grill if you have one handy and it’s not the middle of winter) until they turn pink and start to brown.

shrimp on the grill pan
grilled shrimp in grill pan

If you decide to get a little fancy with your meal, then GOOD ONYA MATE!

grilled sliced mango

Get some grill lines on your mangos like a piece of piss! Alright, maybe that slang term doesn’t work as well there, but it’s super easy to get some good grill marks on your mangoes, so extra points for creativity.

plated prawns with potato and pasta salad sides
mango shrimp

Australian Prawns on the Barbie

The Starving Chef
Easy shrimp with a mango marinade.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Australian, Fish
Servings 4 servings


  • 16 oz jumbo tiger shrimp / prawn
  • ¼ cup mango chutney
  • ¼ cup mango jelly or perserves
  • 3 tablespoons yellow curry
  • 5 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice + fresh sliced lemon for serving
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice + fresh sliced lime for serving
  • 2 mangos sliced for grilling (optional)
  • 10 pearl onions for grilling (optional)
  • 1 red pepper for grilling (optional)


  • Remove the shells and devein the prawns. Soak them in cool salt water while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Mix the mango chutney, mango jelly, curry, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, and lime juice in a small bowl. Pat the prawns dry and place them in the marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • (Optional) Skewer the prawns, alternating with lemon and lime wedges, pearl onions and mango slices.
  • Preheat a grill pan. Place the prawns directly on the grill pan and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute per side, until golden lines have formed and the prawns have turned red and have cooked through. Serve and enjoy!
Keyword mango, marinade, shrimp
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