Spicy Prawn cocktail is a classic starter dish where juicy prawns are tossed in traditional pink Marie Rose sauce with an added punch. A classic 70’s starter dish that never goes out of style. Serve as starter, for salads or along with mains.
Prawn cocktail or shrimp cocktail is a retro classic that easily is the most-favorite dish from kids to adults. A no-hassle recipe that you can make for any cocktail party or simply for the love of seafood.
This 70’s style starter prawn cocktail does not get old even today. Plump, juicy prawns tossed in classic rose marie sauce is a great starter.
Use only fresh prawns for this starter. Frozen prawns when defrosted, turns watery and tasteless. The texture of defrosted prawns isn’t great either for a good tasty prawn cocktail.
Prawn cocktail sauce is at the simple classic Marie Rose sauce. It’s a pink creamy sauce which is a simple blend of mayonnaise, tomato sauce, and some optional seasoning of dash of salt, ground pepper, sriracha sauce, a pinch of cayenne pepper and finally little horseradish if you wish to add to the flavor.
We plan to say ‘CHEERS’ on the New Years Eve with a traditional starter ,the 70’s style feast! It’s super quick to make and sophisticated enough which you can put up on New Years Eve party table.
Serving prawn cocktail has to be done the right way. Serve it in elegant glassware or make lettuce cups and serve it as individual portions.
How To Make The Best Prawn Cocktail?
For the cocktail sauce – whisk together mayonnaise, ketchup, sriracha sauce, cayenne pepper, pepper powder, salt and dash of lime juice. Whisk well and refrigerate until use.
Cook prawn in water seasoned with salt.
Pro-Tip : I devein the prawns before cooking. I also prefer removing the head , but leave the tail on. It’s so hard to devein it once cooked.
Do not over cook prawns. Remove heads and peel them. For serving purpose keep a few prawns with tail on.
Pro Tip : Prawn cocktail recipe can be easily prepped ahead. You can prep prawns and sauce and refrigerate it over night. Just before serving toss prawns in sauce and serve with fresh iceberg lettuce cups.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Fresh prawns (look for best quality prawns/shrimp)
- Good quality smoother Mayonnaise
- Tomato ketchup
- Salt and pepper to season
- Lettuce leaves to serve
- Lime wedge for garnish and to serve
To the Marie-Rose sauce I like to add a kick. So to the classic cocktail sauce I added
- Sriracha sauce,
- Cayenne pepper
- Horseradish (grated)
Alternatively you can use Worcestershire sauce, tobacco sauce or any other hot sauce that you may have in your pantry in place of sriracha sauce.
You can add these ingredients for added flavor and heat.
How to Cook Prawn/Shrimp?
Many super markets sell cooked(boiled prawns). Feel free to pick those if they look fresh and best in quality. Prawn cocktail dish taste entirely depends on the quality of prawns.
Alternatively, you can easily boil or cook prawns on your own. Doesn’t take much time.
Method 1 (Traditional Way)
Bring a pot of water to boil. You can season or flavor water with a bay leave, few whole black pepper corns along with salt. Once water comes to boil, add prawns (shelled or with shells but remember to devein the prawns) to the boiling water.
Cook until pink and slightly firm to touch. It should take about 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain prawns immediately and cool it on a plate.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Place prawns/shrimps on skillet and cook on low flame for 2-3 minutes. Flip prawns once it curls up and turns pink. Cook on other side for a minute or 2.
Note: DO NOT brown prawns. They should be pink, just cooked.
How to Prawn/Shrimp Cocktail Sauce?
The key to a delicious prawn cocktail is a good rose mayonnaise or Rose Marie sauce as it’s called. And key to a good pinkish rose mayonnaise or cocktail sauce is the mayonnaise itself.
Good quality smoother mayonnaise is best for making the best cocktail sauce for prawn cocktail.
To make prawn cocktail sauce, combine mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, Sriracha sauce, lime juice, horseradish, ground pepper and salt in bowl. Whisk well and make a smooth sauce. You can store this in fridge for about 24 hours.
Looking for more finger food for New Years party celebrations?
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Spicy Prawn Cocktail
- 1 lb freshest and best prawns
- 1 lemon or lime quartered
- 3 quarts water
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 whole black pepper corns
- Generous pinch of kosher salt
- 2 cups iceberg lettuce or romaine, shredded
- 4 tablespoon mayonnaise preferably whole egg mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce or Worcestershire sauce or tabasco sauce or any hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon horseradish finely grated creamed
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of salt
- Bring a pot of water to boil. You can season or flavour it with a bay leave, few whole black pepper corns along with salt. Once water comes to boil, add prawns (shelled or with shells but remember to devein the prawns) to the boiling water.
- Pro-Tip : I devein the prawns before cooking. I also prefer removing the head , but leave the tail on. It’s so hard to devein it once cooked.
- For serving purpose keep a few prawns with tail on.
- Cook until pink and slightly firm to touch. It should take about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Drain prawns immediately and cool it under running water.
- To make prawn cocktail sauce, combine good mayonnaise that is smooth in texture, tomato ketchup, Sriracha sauce, lime juice, horseradish, ground pepper and salt in bowl. Whisk well and make a smooth sauce. You can store this in fridge for about 24 hours.
- Note - Just before serving, toss cooked prawns in the sauce.
- Place cooked prawns in large bowl, add sauce over it and toss well until every prawn is coated well in the sauce.
- Note - If sauce seems thin, add a little more of each of the sauce ingredients over the prawns and toss again.
- If serving in lettuce cups, do not shred all lettuce leave, keep few lettuce cups whole.
- If serving in martini glasses for sophisticated elegant look, shred lettuce leaves and divide it between the martini cups or any glass ware that you want to use to serve these cocktail prawns.
- Arrange neatly prawns tossed in sauce. This is an important step.
- Garnish with lemon wedged and serve immediately.