Udang Cabe Garam: Deep Fried Shrimp with Chilli & Salt

A delicious, addictive dish of deep fried prawns in a chilli-salt mix.

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Cabe garam, or chili-salt mix, is a trendy way of spicing up proteins in many restaurants in Indonesia, especially in big cities. As the name suggests, chili and salt are the two main ingredients of the dish, though other spices are also present to add more flavor and depth.

The cabe garam spice mix is easy to prepare and it’s quite versatile. It’s a delicious way to cook all kinds of meat and seafood, such as chicken, beef, fish, shrimp, squid, and even tofu.

Though simple, cabe garam dishes are very tasty and great for snacking. 

In this recipe, we are using shrimp as the main ingredient. I love how tasty the shrimps are, when coated with all these fresh and simple ingredients. It’s salty, spicy and so addictive. The unpeeled shrimp is marinated in baking powder and cornstarch to get the meat soft and juicy under the crispy skin. And yes, we also eat the skin. 

If you prefer to have tempura-like shrimp, add more cornstarch (2-3 tbsp) for a thicker batter. 

Cabe garam is great served with rice (obviously!) or enjoyed as it is as a luxury snack one should have once every blue moon.

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Udang Cabe Garam: Deep Fried Chili-Salt Shrimp

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Fish & Seafood
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Halal


Udang cabe garam is a dish of shrimp that’s deep fried and then refried with a chili-salt mix, and is quick to prepare while giving you a spicy, umami flavor.



For the shrimp:

  • 500 gr medium size shrimp
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ⅕ tsp white pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp egg white
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • Cooking oil for deep frying


For the sauce:

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled, finely minced
  • 2 shallots, peeled, finely minced
  • 1 big red chili, minced
  • 1 bird’s eye chili, minced
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • Dash of white pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • ⅕ tsp mushroom stock powder (optional)
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil


  1. Remove the shrimp head, cut the back of the shrimp using scissors, and devein.
  2. Wash the shrimp thoroughly and place in a bowl.
  3. Marinate the shrimp with baking powder, white pepper powder, vinegar, egg white, salt and cornstarch for 15 minutes.
  4. Deep fry the shrimp with enough oil, for around 3 minutes, over medium high heat. Do it in several batches.
  5. Leave the shrimp to rest for about 5 minutes.
  6. Re-fry the shrimp for less than 1 minute to crisp the skin. Set aside.
  7. Heat 4 tbsp cooking oil over medium heat and fry the garlic over medium heat for around 3 minutes or until the garlic turns slightly golden. Set aside.
  8. Remove all the leftover garlic in the pan to avoid burning and sautee the shallots, chillies and spring onion for a few seconds.
  9. Add the white pepper, salt, oyster sauce and mushroom stock powder. Saute for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  10. Add the fried garlic, and mix.
  11. Add the fried shrimp, mix thoroughly.
  12. Transfer the shrimp onto a serving dish.


  • The shrimp can be both peeled or unpeeled.
  • Pay attention when sauteeing the garlic. Turn off the heat when the color starts to change to light golden. Burnt garlic is bitter and will ruin the dish.

Keywords: spicy deep fried prawns, Indonesian prawn dish

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