Copycat Lotus of Siam Thai Garlic Prawns Recipe

June 1, 2018Van
Blog post

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4

The most memorable part of a trip to lucky Las Vegas differs depending on who you ask. For me, my jackpot was finding James Beard Award winner Lotus of Siam—which is known as one of the best Thai Restaurants in all of America. Lotus is not your typical Thai joint serving Pad Thai—this is Northern Thai Cuisine—and unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.

Everything at Lotus is good : Nam-Prik-Ong (Chili Dip), Nam Kao Tod (Crispy Rice Salad with Sausage), Khao Soi (Crispy Duck Curry served with Egg Noodles) …but nothing can prepare you for their famous GARLIC PRAWNS. These meaty prawns come served deep fried and crispy—but the catch is that the shells have been separated from the flesh and served almost like extra crispy shrimp chips. If that wasn’t enough, the whole lot is tossed in a tantalizing garlic sauce.

After trying Lotus of Siam once, it was alway a must visit anytime I was in Vegas. Flash forward a few years and I’m still thinking about their garlic prawns-but the problem is taking the trip to Vegas now that life is so busy with young children and work. I had no other choice than to replicate one of their best dishes. Once you make my copycat you’ll never miss paying $28 (yes that much for six prawns) and traveling to Vegas again!

Copycat Lotus of Siam Thai Garlic Prawns Recipe Copycat Lotus of Siam Thai Garlic Prawns Recipe Copycat Lotus of Siam Thai Garlic Prawns Recipe
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Copycat Lotus of Siam Garlic Prawns Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Serves: 4


  • 18 Colossal Prawns / Shrimp, (Shell on, Easy Peel Size 13/15)
  • 1½ Teaspoons Fish Sauce
  • ½ Teaspoon Oyster Sauce
  • ½ Cup Tapioca Starch
  • ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 10 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • ½ Teaspoon Coriander Root, finely minced, (or 1 Teaspoon Cilantro Stems, finely minced)
  • 1 Teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • 4 Teaspoons Palm Oil or Vegetable Oil
  • Rice Bran Oil (the best frying oil), or other High Smoke Point Oil
  • Cilantro, for garnish


  • 1)

    Gently separate the shell from the body of the prawns – you want the shells to stay whole if possible. You can either pull the shell off completely or just pull it away from the body so it’s still attached to the prawn at the tail.

  • 2)

    In a large bowl, add 1½ Teaspoon of Fish Sauce & ½ Teaspoon Oyster Sauce, stir to combine. Gently toss prawns in the marinade to coat evenly and set aside.

  • 3)

    In a skillet pan add 4 Teaspoons of Palm Oil or Vegetable Oil and heat on med-low. Add 10 finely minced Garlic Cloves, ½ Teaspoon of finely minced Coriander Root, 1 Teaspoon of coarse ground Black Pepper and 1 Teaspoon of Brown Sugar – sauté the mixture for about 2-3 minutes. You want the garlic to be cooked, but you don’t want it to brown so keep a close eye on it. Turn off the heat and set aside.

  • 4)

    In a large bowl or large Tupperware container add ½ Cup Tapioca Starch, ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour, ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda and ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt – mix well. Add the prawns and coat them well with the flour mixture. I usually use a Tupperware container, I seal lid and gently shake to get an even coating on all the prawns and shells.

  • 5)

    Heat about 2-3 inches of rice bran oil or frying oil in a large heavy pot so it reaches 375°F (I used my 7 Qt Le Crueset dutch oven since it retains the heat well) – use a deep fry or candy thermometer to monitor the temperature, if the oil doesn’t reach the correct temp, the prawns will not be crispy.

  • 6)

    Once the oil reaches 375°F, shake off any excess coating on the prawns and fry 9 prawns at a time (or less if the prawns don’t fit in a single layer). It usually only takes a little over a minute for the prawns to get golden brown. After you’re done with the first batch, place the prawns on a rack so the excess oil can drip off. Let the frying oil get back to 375°F before frying the next batch of prawns.

  • 7)

    Toss the fried prawns in the garlic sauce and coat them well. Garnish with cilantro and Enjoy!

↓ Supplies to make this recipe ↓



  • Jane

    May 27, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    These prawns sound intriguing. Are we supposed to eat the shells?

    1. Van

      June 1, 2020 at 11:51 am

      Yes, you eat the shells, they become crispy like chips.

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