Native eating: Maggie Beer's Lemon Myrtle BBQ Prawns

Native eating: Maggie Beer's Lemon Myrtle BBQ Prawns

We were lucky to get permission to publish this native recipe from Maggie Beer's latest book 'Maggie's Recipe for Life'.  You can purchase lemon myrtle powder from Bush Taste Australia Bush Food Shop or make your own using dried lemon myrtle leaves.

 Barbecued lemon myrtle prawns with sorrel mayonnaise

 I’m afraid I’ve made this a little trickier to manage than a regular skewered prawn recipe. Normally you’d spear the prawns onto the skewers first but because this dish is so flavour driven you’ll get much better results from tossing the loose prawns in the marinade to make sure every part of the prawn is in contact with those wonderful flavours. It’s not a bad idea to put on some kitchen gloves for threading the skewers after this. I’ve made a sorrel mayonnaise as I have lots in the garden and I love its sharp citrus flavour but any mayonnaise you make with a good balance of lemon juice will work well here.



16 x 20 cm bamboo skewers soaked in water for 2 hours to avoid burning

16 very fresh large raw king or tiger prawns

Extra virgin olive oil, for cooking

Lime wedges, to serve



2 tablespoons lemon myrtle powder

2 tablespoons chilli sauce

3 tablespoons finely chopped golden shallots

⅓ cup (80 ml) fish sauce

⅓ cup (80 ml) lemon juice

100 ml extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper


Sorrel mayonnaise

½ cup (125 ml) mellow extra virgin olive oil

½ cup (125 ml) grapeseed oil

2 free-range egg yolks, at room temperature

1 cup trimmed sorrel leaves (about 1 bunch)

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Juice of ½ lemon


Preheat a barbecue grill plate to high or an overhead grill to the highest setting possible.

To make the marinade, place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Peel the prawns, leaving the heads and tails intact. Use a skewer to devein the prawns, then toss them in the marinade and stand for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the sorrel mayonnaise, pour both the oils into a small jug. Place the egg yolks in a blender or a small food processor. Add the sorrel, a good pinch of salt and a good squeeze of lemon juice and process until smooth. With the motor running, gradually add the combined oils, drop by drop at first, then in a slow steady stream until thick and emulsified. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed. This recipe will make more than you need but the leftover mayonnaise will keep well in the refrigerator for about a week.

Using a clean cloth to hold the slippery prawns, thread the prawns onto the soaked skewers, starting from the tail end. Place the skewers on a baking tray and brush with a little olive oil. Cook on the barbecue or under the grill for 2 minutes or until they turn bright red. Turn them over, brush with a little more olive oil and cook for another minute or until just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook the prawns – remember they will continue to cook once off the heat. Serve immediately with the sorrel mayonnaise and some lime wedges.



Prawns are a good source of complete protein, vitamins B3 and B12, and selenium.


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